THESE TERMS ARE OFTEN CONFUSED BUT

THEY ARE QUI TE DI FFERENT.


Perception, Risk and
Vulnerability
Terms
 Risk - the probability of a hazard occurring

 Vulnerability - the susceptibility of a population or
society to the impacts of a hazard

 Perception - a population or individuals
understanding of hazard risk

EARTHQUAKES HURRICANE/CYCLONE
 Proximity to Plate
Boundaries
 Proximity to active fault line
like San Andreas in USA
(Frequency)
 Living on soft ground that
amplifies earthquake waves
 Proximity to coastlines in
earthquake zones (Tsunami
risk)

 Living in the tropics
 Living near coastlines
in the tropics
 visiting the tropics
during hurricane
season
Factors that might influence risk
TIME (SEASON) LOCATION

 A bush fire is much more
likely to occur during
summer due to:
-higher average temperatures
-dry conditions and dry fuel
-Electric storms more frequent
(lightning)
-hot winds more frequent


 A serious bushfire is
more likely to occur in
Australia than in the UK
since the summers are
longer and hotter
 In December South
Australia is more likely to
have a bushfire
compared to Darwin
because Darwin receives
substantial summer
rainfall.
Location and Time
EARTHQUAKES
HURRICANES/CYCLONES
 The risk of Earthquake along
the North Anatolian Fault in
Turkey is greater than along
the San Andreas Fault line
because earthquakes occur
there more frequently.
 Time is unlikely to be so
important in earthquake
events since time scales for
earthquakes are large and
sporadic and not dependent
on season.
 Strong seasonal
influence due to
insolation warming
oceans to 26.5◦ and
release of latent heat
 Prevailing winds and
distance of open ocean
Location and Time
Factors Influencing Vulnerability
Vulnerability
Knowledge about the
Event
Education about Safe
Procedures
Upkeep to the
home
Access to
Technology
Wealth
Time of the
Event
State of Health
Clothing and
Equipment
Emergency Services
Other People
Perception of
Risk
Perception of Risk
 Perception of the risk underlies a number of factors
that result in higher vulnerability.
 If people believe that “it will never happen to me”
They might not:
-invest in safety equipment
-seek knowledge of the event
-bother to understand potential hazards or best
response
Acquire technology such as a radio, breathing
equipment or similar
Time of the Event
 Day or Night?
 Winter or Summer?
 Week day or Week-end?
 Rush hour or midday?
 This year or next year?
 In my lifetime or my childs?
Time scales are important since we are often more
vulnerable at certain times.
In 1993 an Earthquake struck Gujarat in India at 5am –
many people were buried alive by collapsed homes
while they slept. Two –three hours later and many
more would have survived.
Other People
 Other people can influence your vulnerability. For
example:
-Someone in the street might be a firefighter
-A neighbour might not cut back his trees during fire
season
-A dilapidated building or leaning tree might come
down on to your property during a storm
-A neighbour might have a basement you can shelter
in.
Wealth
 Sadly money to a certain extent controls the
vulnerability of individuals and communities.
-Can the town afford the Cyclone shelter?
-Can the family afford to put in a basement
-Can the whole street afford to put in roof sprinklers?
-Can the city afford to train enough emergency
personnel?
-Does the country have the means to supply food and
water?
Health
 The most vulnerable in hazard prone environments
are the very young, the elderly, the sick and the
invalids.
 A simple injury such as a twisted ankle can affect
your vulnerability
 Temporary illness
 Often vulnerable communities suffer from secondary
events. For example they survived the Flood, but
became sick due to the spread of disease that
followed (consumption of dirty water)
Technology
 Radio and TV broadcast knowledge of the hazard,
where it is, where it is heading, its intensity
 Sources of light –most hazards cut electricity
 Power tools, useful for cutting and lifting
 Communication devices such as phones, internet and
GPS may assist in last minute education and
avoidance or help in response
Clothing and Equipment
 Owning or having access to the ideal clothing or
equipment can be critical for survival or reducing
potential impact:
-Bushfire –Natural fabrics long sleeves and long
pants –breathing apparatus, petrol
powered water pump, metal buckets
-Flood –Warm clothing, torch, food, clean water,
boat/raft
-Earthquake – Clean water, food, torch, spare
batteries, first aid box, portable gas cooking or
camping gear, blankets.
Emergency Services
 Communities are less vulnerable if there are trained
personnel who can:
-Organize evacuation
-Treat injuries on site
-Cut trapped people from wreckage
-Free people buried under rubble
-Transport key supplies such as food, water, blankets
to those effected
-Give advice, broadcast information, reduce panic
Upkeep of the home
 Some homes are more vulnerable than others. It
does depend on the hazard of course
 Earthquake –homes built illegally and not to
building standards are vulnerable to collapse.
 Bushfire –homes with overgrown gardens and
overhanging trees more vulnerable than cleared
gardens
 Cyclone –homes that are not elevated in areas prone
to tidal surge or homes without windows boarded up
 Tornadoes –homes without basements
Education
 Education can save lives. Here are some examples:
-Knowing to get under a table or stand in a doorway
during an earthquake
-Knowing that the eye will be preceded by the
strongest winds and rainfall in a hurricane/cyclone
-that fire travels uphill faster than downhill
-Having a good bushfire plan
-Tsunamis are preceded by rapid ocean withdrawal at
the beach –minutes to get to higher ground
-Acquiring skills such as first aid, or bush survival
Education
Source:Image: Tsunami Warning, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from livenature's photostream

Revision
 For a selected hazard/disaster (hurricane,
earthquake or drought), compare the factors
influencing vulnerability for an LEDC and an MEDC
- as mentioned on the spider diagram on slide 6.
 Explain why perception of risk of your chosen hazard
is especially important and how individuals can
ensure they are realistic in their perception.