Cover Image
close this bookDisaster Mitigation - 2nd Edition (Department of Humanitarian Affairs/United Nations Disaster Relief Office - Disaster Management Training Programme - United Nations Development Programme , 1994, 64 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentUnited Nations reorganization and the Disaster Management Training Programme
View the documentIntroduction
close this folderPart 1 - Introduction to mitigation concepts
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe sanitary revolution: a paradigm for disaster mitigation
View the documentKnow your enemy: hazards and their effects
View the documentSaving life and reducing economic disruption
View the documentTargeting mitigation where it has most effect
View the documentVulnerability
close this folderSpecific Hazards and Mitigation
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentFloods and water hazards
View the documentEarthquakes
View the documentVolcanic eruption
View the documentLand instabilities
View the documentStrong winds (typhoons, hurricanes, cyclones, tropical storms and tornados)
View the documentTechnological hazards
View the documentDrought and desertification
View the documentSUMMARY
close this folderPart 2 - Actions to reduce risk
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentReducing hazard vs reducing vulnerability
View the documentTools, powers and budgets
View the documentCommunity-based mitigation
View the documentThe menu of mitigation actions
View the documentSUMMARY
close this folderPart 3 - Mitigation strategies
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAims and methods
View the documentEconomics of mitigation
View the documentPracticalities of mitigation
View the documentOpportunities for mitigation: post-disaster implementation
View the documentEmpowerment and community-based mitigation
View the documentSUMMARY
close this folderPart 4 - Implementing organizations
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentBuilding up skills and institutions
View the documentThe regional context: a problem shared
View the documentInternational exchange of expertise
View the documentSupporting decision-making: external specialists
View the documentKnowledge dissemination
View the documentInternational decade for natural disaster reduction
View the documentDisaster mitigation in UNDP country programming
View the documentInitial phases of the UNDP country programming exercise
View the documentSUMMARY
View the documentAnnex 1: Profile of selected United Nations agencies and their activities in disaster mitigation
View the documentAnnex 2: Acronyms
View the documentAnnex 3: Additional reading
View the documentGlossary
View the documentModule evaluation

Targeting mitigation where it has most effect

The understanding of how the occurrence of a natural hazard or an accident turns into a disaster enables us to forecast likely situations where disasters are possible. If there were no human settlements or economic activities affected, an earthquake would be a harmless act of nature. The combination of settlements (elements) and earthquake (hazard) makes the disaster possible. Some elements are more vulnerable to earthquake effects than others. Identifying which these are - the elements most at risk - indicates priorities for mitigation.

Disasters are often the result of combinations of factors occurring together: a fire source, a dense residential area and combustible houses for example, or a seismic fault rupturing close to a city formed of high occupancy weak buildings. The contributory factors of past disasters can be identified to highlight similar conditions elsewhere. This is the process of risk analysis.

Identifying situations where combinations of risk factors coincide indicates the elements most at risk. The elements most at risk are the buildings, community services, infrastructure and activities that will suffer most from the effects of the hazard or will be least able to recover after the event. At a regional level, the concentrations of population and infrastructure in large cities make it likely that the losses inflicted by even low levels of hazard will exceed the total losses inflicted by severe levels of hazard on all the villages in the region. Mitigation measures in the city may have the most effect in reducing future losses. The portions of the housing stock in the city most likely to be damaged can be identified and mitigation measures applied to that sector will have the most effect on reducing risk. The number of elements likely to be affected by a hazard, together with their vulnerability to the hazard will identify where mitigation is most effective.