|Natural Disasters in South East Asia and Bangladesh - Vulnerability Risks and Consequences (Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters - International Center for Training Exchanges in the Geosciences, 1998, 83 p.)|
|PART III - ASSESSING VULNERABILITY CRITERIA AND GLOBAL RISK LEVELS|
By crossing data concerning vulnerability and those concerning natural hazards, it has been possible to define global risk levels. This was done by taking into account the relative variety and intensity of natural hazards, the frequency of disaster, and the socio-economic and demographic criteria of vulnerability. According to their status regarding the different criteria, a value was attributed to each country in order to bring out the risk levels. If, as concerns methodology, this approach is not faultless, any change in a certain number of criteria would not lead to any intrinsic change in the final result. Figure 33 illustrates the conclusions obtained showing three groups of countries, in decreasing order.
- The maximal risk level is reached by Bangladesh and the Philippines. The situation in these two countries is however distinctly different. In the Philippines, the risks are a result of all types of hazards (though cyclones and floods have a dominating frequency), of their high intensity, past or potential, and of a relatively high vulnerability. On the other hand, the destructive phenomena are less varied in Bangladesh (essentially of hydro-meteorological origin) and their frequency slightly low, however the vulnerability is very high. This, to a great extent, explains the greater number of deaths and affected people in this country in the last decades despite the relatively lower number of events registered.
- Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia all have a high risk level but this value is quite lower than that of the countries in the previous group. Here again, a slight difference is to be introduced. The variabilities of hazards are notably more penalizing for Myanmar and Vietnam; the two other countries however show a slightly higher vulnerability. In all these countries the main risk comes from hydro-meteorological hazards even though Vietnam and even more Myanmar are concerned also by earthquake risks.
- Thailand is different from the other countries by its relatively low risk level (the risk is referred to as being moderately high). The destructive phenomena, floods in particular, are not rare in this country which is also occasionally affect by cyclones. The degree of exposure to natural hazards is thus globally comparable to that of the countries in the previous group. However, the level of vulnerability is clearly much lower as shown by most socio-economic and demographic factors. This implies that the ability to respond to risks or crises or at least an ability to absorb the consequences of disasters is appreciably higher here than in the other countries.
Though integrating many parameters constituting risk, this assessment does not take into account the national variety. The hazards are unequally distributed according to their types, just like the human presence varies according to the territories. Considering the relatively limited number of countries studied, it has been possible to identify different territories prone to risks, this approach facilitating any comparisons and diagnoses. It effectively shows the existence of common points and differences regarding the risk assessment in the seven countries.