Tsunami vulnerability assessment using a geographical information system with special reference to Greece
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Tsunami are rare geological phenomena but their impacts are frequently catastrophic. Greece is the European country that has been affected most frequently by tsunami. Whilst tsunami hazard and risk within Greece have been studied, tsunami vulnerability has not. Previous studies and hazard mapping of tsunami flood prone areas around the world imply that populations, buildings and infrastructure within a potential inundation zone are uniformly vulnerable to impact. However, vulnerability is a dynamic factor and is a function of a number of parameters, since vulnerability of any physical, structural or socio-economic element is the probability of it being damaged, destroyed or lost. This dissertation identifies two coastal segments within Greece known to be at risk from tsunami flooding; reviews the historical record of events and determines a worse case tsunami event for both locations. A new methodology for assessing vulnerability of these coastal communities is then developed and applied to each location. The methodology incorporates multiple parameters that contribute to tsunami vulnerability and identifies and demonstrates the vulnerability of different components of the community (human, economic and the built environment). Using a Multi Criteria Evaluation Method the vulnerability of individual buildings and open spaces within the potential inundation zone are assessed and the results are displayed in map form with the aid of a Geographical Information System (GIS). The primary database may be used by various end-users, such as emergency planners, insurance companies, individuals, local authorities and scientists, in order to produce maps that could enable them to make recommendations regarding response plans or mitigation measures. Finally, a framework for Tsunami Vulnerability Assessment is introduced which integrates this vulnerability assessment methodology. Through this framework, the Greek Civil Protection system is outlined, its weaknesses are discussed and recommendations are made.