|Vulnerability and Risk Assessment - 2nd Edition (Department of Humanitarian Affairs/United Nations Disaster Relief Office - Disaster Management Training Programme - United Nations Development Programme , 1994, 70 p.)|
|Part 3 - Appraising disaster mitigation options|
When development projects, like any other projects, are undertaken without regard for the risks of future hazards, the investment level considered adequate for the program may be insufficient to protect it during its life-time.24 When making a cutting for a road, for example, a steeper angle for the cutting is cheaper than a shallow one, so an efficient engineer will choose the steepest angle that the soil will bear to minimise the cost. If however, the possibility of an extremely heavy rainfall or strong ground tremor is not considered, the cutting will collapse and the road may be buried or washed away. The investment in the road may be wasted for the lack of the extra cost to widen the cutting angle a few extra degrees to give a safety margin against natural hazards. Of course a good engineer would always include some level of safety margin, but what safety level is adequate? How safe is safe? What levels of extra cost are justified to protect the investment during it's lifetime?
It is not just the engineering content of development programs that need to build in safety factors and protection, the entire project needs to be designed with a level of risk awareness.
It is not just the engineering content of development programs that need to build in safety factors and protection, the entire project needs to be designed with a level of risk awareness. Investments in development projects have been lost repeatedly in hazard-prone areas wiped out by a cyclone or an earthquake or a flood - often hazards that should have been foreseen. Perhaps more common is the occurrence of a disaster interrupting an ongoing project and diverting resources from their original intended use.
One important procedure that has been proposed is to include disaster potential in the economic analysis of a project design.25 The extra costs of protection, it is counter-argued, would make some projects not economically viable. However, the basic argument for integrating disaster awareness into development planning is that it is wasteful not to do so.