Vulnerability To natural hazards - Policy

Vulnerability To natural hazards - Policy

How to build and improve resilience in cities?

More risky world

  • The trend over the last three decades shows a sharp increase in the number and frequency of natural disasters
  • In 2005, the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) reported that 360 natural disasters killed over 90,000 people and affected more than 150 million lives
  • In 2006, CRED reported 395 natural disasters (including 226 floods) with 21,342 deaths and over 134.5 million people affected
  • Experts predict this trend to continue; in particular global warming is likely to create more extreme weather events

Resilience: the ability of a system to absorb shocks and stresses without collapsing.
How to start assessing vulnerability?
We can start with knowing what hazards we are facing. The Disaster Database: EM-DAT maintained by CRED provides useful information and; objective basis for vulnerability assessment and the setting of priorities.

Why are cities so vulnerable to natural hazards?

While offering various advantages for the inhabitants: improved economic opportunities, easier access to basic services etc, cities also generate a large group of vulnerable people, concentrated in slums.

Their livelihoods are at risk due to their informal status, which reduces their labour access, prevents land tenure and restricts political rights. Other risks stem from their poor living environment and their dependence on the cash economy.


The Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters

The International Disaster Database

Develop and implement a proper policy framework and integrated disaster management system

Establish a framework for policy design

In order to capture people’s vulnerability to disasters, disruptions and stresses, as well as their capacity to be resilient in spite of the complexity of cities, a comprehensive analytical framework has to be developed. It dissects the vulnerability/resilience nexus of a city from three perspectives:

  1. Global and local – cities are influenced by complex interwoven processes (economic, political, ecological, social etc) on different scales (from the local to the global)
  2. Formal and informal – city governance depends on the interplay between formal and informal institutions
  3. Social and ecological – cities must be conceived as coupled socio-ecological systems


iii) United Nation University, June 2009 The MegaCities Resilience Framework

iv) OECD and OCDE publication Integrated Disaster Risk Management of China

Develop an integrated management

Working example – integrated disaster - management system in China China is one of the most natural disaster affected countries in the world. The Chinese government has been attaching much importance to disaster reduction work since 1949. Much structural and non-structural construction has been accomplished to improve the natural disaster resistant ability of China

Key elements in China's disaster management system

  • Disaster Risk Zoning
  • Directions for disaster reduction is established in three stages: pre-disaster, in-disaster and post-disaster

iii. Defining disaster region, victims and effects
iv. Confirmation of disaster reduction organisation
v. Confirmation of disaster management levels