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The paper defines Malta’s disaster risks parameter. Various data are given on Malta’s earthquake-related hazards. By referring to mean damage ratios and death rates, earthquake losses are equated as a percentage of the gross domestic product, and the number of casualties and homeless estimated. Being a small island, the need for foreign help in the aftermath of a large disaster is analysed. Because of the present large number of vacant premises available, the amount of material foreign help required is minimized, as households could be evacuated to other regions of the Island. The above risks could further be minimized if Malta adopts strategic preparedness and mitigation management. Retrofitting of the present building stock is necessary, as is actively encouraging the purchase of disaster insurance, together with preparation of planning tools and strategic choices.
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Malta’s risk
minimisation to
earthquake, volcanic
and tsunami damage
Denis H. Camilleri
Introduction
Malta, situated in the Sicily Channel, forms
part of the relatively stable northernmost
platform of the African continent. The 1989
Newcastle earthquake, MM8 situated in New
South Wales, Australia, occurred in a low
frequency area. Australia is situated well within
a continental shelf, not on the edge, where the
most frequent activity is associated. It is known
that infrequent but occasionally severe
earthquakes can occur within continental
plates (Melchers and Page, 1992).
This fact should not make Malta
complacent to above damage. Malta cannot
run the risk of being unprepared for the
effects of a medium sized earthquake. With
the economy concentrated in a small region,
with a high dependency on real estate due to
the high price of land, the situation is even
worse than in other localities, as help from
other parts of the country cannot remedy the
situation. The current rebuilding cost under
normal conditions of only the residential
property market, works out at twice the GDP.
Defining disaster risks
There are a number of different measures,
which can be used to express estimated risk.
These include individual mortality rates,
societal mortality rates, fatalities per million,
loss of life expectancy and death per unit
measure of activity (Royal Society, 1992).
The setting of tolerability thresholds
requires a baseline against which comparisons
may be made. Engineers rely on guidelines
provided by the Health and Safety Executive
(1989, p. vi). Maximum tolerable individual
risk is deemed to be 1 in 1,000 for workers,
for voluntary activities involving economic
benefits or other profits a higher risk may be
considered as acceptable. For somebody
subjected to an involuntary or unnatural risk,
from which he has no benefits at all, the target
is substantially lower at 1 in 10,000 for the
public, classified as ‘‘very low’’ risk. Then for
those living close to a nuclear plant or near a
transport route of dangerous materials,
having no profit whatsoever the target is set at
1 in 100,000. These limits for individual risks
are defined as just tolerable and a minimal
level below which further action to reduce
risks may not be required. Between these
The author
Denis H. Camilleri is a Structural Engineer at
DH Camilleri, Floriana, Malta.
Keywords
Malta, Disaster management, Disaster recovery,
Strategic planning
Abstract
The paper defines Malta’s disaster risks parameter.
Various data are given on Malta’s earthquake-related
hazards. By referring to mean damage ratios and death
rates, earthquake losses are equated as a percentage of
the gross domestic product, and the number of casualties
and homeless estimated. Being a small island, the need
for foreign help in the aftermath of a large disaster is
analysed. Because of the present large number of vacant
premises available, the amount of material foreign help
required is minimized, as households could be evacuated
to other regions of the Island. The above risks could
further be minimized if Malta adopts strategic
preparedness and mitigation management. Retrofitting of
the present building stock is necessary, as is actively
encouraging the purchase of disaster insurance, together
with preparation of planning tools and strategic choices.
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37
Disaster Prevention and Management
Volume 12 .Number 1 .2003 .pp. 37-47
#MCB UP Limited .ISSN 0965-3562
DOI 10.1108/09653560310463847
levels, it depends on how much safety society
really needs and what it is prepared to pay for
that level, if society insists (Vrouwenvelden
et al., 2001).
Table I gives the fatal accident rate (FAR)
(Kletz), which is a comparison between the
level of risk associated in participating in
different activities. It is defined as the risk of
death per 100 million hours of exposure to the
activity. It is approximately the same as the
probable number of fatalities from 1,000
people working lives, each taken at about
100,000 hours (Hambly and Hambly, 1994).
A disaster is defined as a sudden low
probability event, which when it happens, has
such severe consequences in terms of loss,
human, material and financial, for a given
community that it causes tensions in the
social fabric of this community (Denis,
1995). A disaster is defined if one or more
of the following consequences result from
one event over a relatively short period of
time:
10 or more fatalities;
damage costs exceeds $1 million;
50 or more people evacuated.
Table I Relative risks of death in UK by activity ± updated for earthquake effects to the Maltese Islands
Activity
Risk of death
£10
– 8 H
: FAR
Classification of
unlikely risks
1Plague in London in 1665 15,000 High
2Rock climbing, while on rock face 4,000
3Fireman in London air-raids 1940 1,000
4Travel by helicopter 500
5Travel by motorcycle and moped 300
6Police officer in Northern Ireland, average 70
7Workers in high-rise building industry 70
8``Tolerable’’ limit 1 in 1000/yr at work 50 Tolerable
9Smoking 40
10 Walking beside a road 20
11 Offshore oil and gas extraction 20
12 Travel by air 15
13 Travel by car 15
14 Coal mines 8
15 Average man in 30s from accidents 8
16 Average man in 30s from diseases 8
17 Travel by train 5
18 Constructions, average 5
19 Metal manufacturing 4
20 ``Tolerable’’ limit 1 in 10,000/yr near major hazard 1 Very low
21 Travel by bus 1
22 Accident at home, able-bodies 1
23 Radon gas natural radiation ``action level’ 5
24 ``Tolerable’’ limit 1 in 100,000/year near nuclear plant
(Frosdick, 1997)
0.1 Minimal
25 Radon gas natural radiation, UK average 0.1
26 Terrorist bomb in London Street 0.1
27 1 in 1,000,000/year annual risk of death from fire in a
home (Strutt, 1993)
0.01 Negligible
28 Malta earthquake MM ± VII 0.0077
29 Building falling down 0.002
30 1 in 100,000,000 annual risk of death from a contaminated
land fill (Wood and Grant, 2000)
0.0001 Insignificant
31 Malta earthquake MM -VIII 0.00073
Source: Hambly & Hambly (1994)
38
Malta’s risk minimisation to earthquake, volcanic a nd tsunami damage
Denis H. Camilleri
Disaster Prevention and Management
Volume 12 .Number 1 .2003 .37-47
In addition to adopting the above threshold
for disasters, the Bradford disaster scale
(BDS) was also formulated. When faced with
numbers of lives lost or losses in terms of
money in a disaster, the human mind has
difficulty in visualizing the scale or magnitude
in comparing one disaster with another. The
scale, inasmuch as it is logarithmic, has much
in common with other scales such as the
Richter earthquake scale (Keller and
Al-madhari, 1996).
As an example, the Los Angeles earthquake,
resulting in over 70 fatalities and $30 billion
damage, has BDS magnitudes of 1.86 and
4.48 respectively. The Armenia earthquake
with 24,000 fatalities has a BDS of magnitude
4.38. A storm in France of $22.7 million
damage has a BDS of magnitude 1.36.
The Health and Safety Executive (1989),
find that it is not possible to place an upper
limit on the tolerability of hazardous events
causing multiple fatalities. This is because
‘‘we commonly take large numbers of
individual accidental death far less seriously
than we do a single event killing a similarly
large number of people. Any large scale
accident raises questions of responsibility for
safety and public accountability in a way that
accidents to individuals do not’’.
The social acceptance of risk to human life
is often presented as a F-n-curve. Figure 1
indicates the border between ‘‘acceptable’’
and ‘‘unacceptable’, where probabilities ‘‘P’’
are plotted on one axis and the number of
casualties ‘‘n’ on the other. N
d
is the number
of people killed in one year in one accident.
In Figure 1, two levels of acceptance are
plotted. In the upper level the risk is
considered as being not acceptable and below
the lower level the risk is considered as being
negligible. In the area in between, risk
reducing measures should be considered and
judged on an economical basis, considered as
the ‘‘as low as reasonably practicable’’
principle (ALARP). For the individually
based risk criterion, such as the car accident,
limits here indicate a point far above the line
given, hence it is only considered valid for
n>10, explaining the broken line in
Figure 1.
The upper limits may be inspired by the
ethical maximum acceptable risk of individual
persons or by the risk aversion of society to
large disasters. Figure 2 with examples from
chosen target reliabilities included, is based
on a mathematical expression in the case of a
straight F-n-curve (log-log-scale) presented as
Fn† ˆ PNd>n<An¡k
For an ind ividual risk, Aassumed at 0.1, with
ktaken at 1, for a societal risk, Aassumed at
0.01, with ktaken at 2. However, the socially
acceptable level should start on a national
level, reflecting the national safety policy, with
large countries having larger Avalues than
smaller countries for reasons of consistency.
High values of kexpress the social aversion to
large disasters (Vrouwenvelden et al., 2001).
Figure 1 F-n-curves, where F(n) = P(N
d
(nin one year), and the
ALARP region
Figure 2 The F(n) = P(N
d
(n) < A n
±k
requirement for one year (see
ISO 2394)
39
Malta’s risk minimisation to earthquake, volcanic a nd tsunami damage
Denis H. Camilleri
Disaster Prevention and Management
Volume 12 .Number 1 .2003 .37-47
The above F-n-curve method does not take
into account the economic consequences. In a
market economy it is not the concern of the
state or of the law to maximise the benefit of
the single actors. Everybody is responsible for
him/herself. Therefore the law does not care
about damages which are suffered by the risk
owner himself, but it wants to prevent
damages caused by the risk owner to someone
else. Therefore, only the externalised
damages are relevant for the law. The
internalised damages are in principle not a
legal problem.
Risks are acceptable if the cost of further
risk reduction measures would be higher than
the monetarized risk reduced by these
measures. The following figures in million
Euros per life saved were applied in a ‘‘risk
based regulation’’ project (Seiler and Beinz,
2001):
Category 1: voluntary risk exposition, e.g.
dangerous sports - no compensation/life
saved.
Category 2: direct individual benefit, e.g.
car driving - 2.75 Euros/life saved.
Category 3: individual benefit, e.g.
working conditions - 6.70 Euros/life
saved.
Category 4: involuntary no direct benefit,
e.g. vicinity to dangerous installation -
13.5 Euros/life saved.
The above values are to be treated with
caution, as it is claimed to be difficult,
unethical and even impossible to make a
valuation of human lives. The value of life
appears to be assessed differently according to
geography and the social development. The
integration of economic losses and human
safety needs further attention with the quality
of life index (QLI) approach seeming to be
promising.
Technological disasters call the credibility
of the expert and science into question. The
fact is that scientists and engineers can only
deal with probabilities, when decision makers
expect certainties. There is often a
discrepancy between objective (scientific)
evaluation and subjective (public) perception
of the level of risk. The complexity of society
means that the number of decisions an
individual has to make in the course of daily
life precludes the carrying out of an objective
evaluation in most cases. The conclusion is
that even though a person is intellectually and
academically able to evaluate a situation
objectively, practicality dictates that in most
cases subjective conclusions must be reached
using short cuts. Subjective decisions are
based on rule of thumb guidelines, which
experience indicates are adequ ate to avoid
danger (Kirkwood, 1994).
The process is thus summarized (Parker,
1990). A rule of thumb, is a shot in the dark
tempered by experience, judgement and raw
ingenuity - and it is as good as any other
rule we live by. A rule of thumb works four
out of five times. This has interesting
implications, in that any scientific or objective
assessment method must have an accuracy
significantly in excess of 80 percent to be
considered any better than a subjective
educated guess.
Malta’s earthquake-related hazards
data
A seismic risk analysis has not yet been drawn
up for the Maltese islands, but from the
limited data available, the return periods are
approximately estimated as per Table II.
The above subjective educated guess for
above return periods, together with the death
rates specified in Table IV, classifies an
MMVII earthquake as negligible risk and an
MMVIII earthquake as an insignificant risk
on the FAR scale values shown in Table I.
Table III defines the building types
classified for earthquake intensity-related
effects. In Malta a few buildings are classified
as type B. These would be restricted to old
rural deteriorated dwellings exceeding 150
years in age or old deteriorated buildings in
Valletta, which due to little maintenance,
stability has been impaired due to ingress of
water. Type A are limited to deteriorated old
agricultural sheds found in fields. Most
masonry buildings and most buildings in
concrete frames would be classified as
conforming to type C. The more rigid
buildings, satisfying stiffness regularity and
Table II Return periods for earthquake intensity
MM-earthquake
intensity
Return period
(years) % g
VI 333 2-5
VII 1,800 5-10
VIII 100,000 10-20
40
Malta’s risk minimisation to earthquake, volcanic a nd tsunami damage
Denis H. Camilleri
Disaster Prevention and Management
Volume 12 .Number 1 .2003 .37-47
symmetry in plan/elevation layout, are
classified as D
1
.
From Table IV, note that the mean damage
ratio (MDR) for present type B buildings
varies from 2 percent for MM5 up to 45
percent for MM8. The death rate at MM8
would approximate to 1 percent. If Malta’s
wall construction is modified to include an
outer skin of masonry, with the inner skin
constructed in hollow concrete blockwork,
infilled with concrete and reinforced at
corners to tie in with the overlying concrete
floor slabs, this tied building would then be
classified as a type C. The MDR would then
decrease to 25 percent at MM8, whilst death
rate also decreases to 0.4 percent. Table IV
also shows the saving in re-building costs, by
retrofitting of existing buildings, or improving
existing methods of construction. It is noted
that a premium would have to be paid for the
repairs to be carried out - the premium
increasing with the increase in MDR; as the
supply of materials and labour would
dwindle, foreign help would have to be
obtained. At one point a decision would have
to be taken whether to repair or whether to
construct anew. To be noted that for a type B
building, non-structural damage would
amount to 50 percent of MDR, whilst
increasing to 70 percent for a type C building.
As the quality of building goes up, with the
contribution of non-structural damage
increasing, the death rate reduces, but a
higher number of injuries occurs (Swiss Re,
1992).
From Table IV, the number of deaths and
damage solely to residential premises has
been calculated as shown in Table V, with the
total direct losses tending towards double the
amount below, and the cost of business
Table III Classification of building according to anticipated earthquake intensity damage
Type Description
Base shear design
% of gravity
ABuilding of fieldstones, rubble masonry, adobe and clay. Buildings with
vulnerable walls because of decay, bad mortar, bad state of repair, thin
cavity brick walls, etc.
0.5
BOrdinary unreinforced brick buildings, buildings of concrete blocks, simple
stone masonry and such buildings incorporating structural members of wood
0.7
CBuildings with structural members of low-quality concrete and simple
reinforcements with no allowance for earthquake forces, and wooden
buildings, the strength of which has been noticeably affected by deterioration
0.9
D
1
Buildings with a frame (structural members) of reinforced concrete 2-3
D
2
Buildings with a frame (structural members) of reinforced concrete 3-4
D
3
Buildings with a frame (structural members) of reinforced concrete 6
D
4
Buildings with a frame (structural members) of reinforced concrete 12
D
5
Buildings with a frame (structural members) of reinforced concrete 20
Source: Swiss Re Zurich (1992)
Table IV Mean damage ratio (MDR) and death rates for building types B and C
Building type
B C
Earthquake
intensity MM MDR (%)
Death
rate (%)
Mean damage
costs as % of
rebuilding costs MDR (%)
Death
rate (%)
Mean damage
costs as % of
rebuilding costs
52 ± 2.5 ± ± ±
64 ± 6 1 ± 1.25
720 0.03 40 10 ± 15
845 1 135 25 0.4 62.5
Source: Camilleri (1999)
41
Malta’s risk minimisation to earthquake, volcanic a nd tsunami damage
Denis H. Camilleri
Disaster Prevention and Management
Volume 12 .Number 1 .2003 .37-47
interruption being at least as much as the
direct losses (EEFIT, 1995).
The above fatalities and staggering financial
losses classify the event as a disaster on the
Bradford disaster scale (BDS), outlined
previously. It should be noted that losses
amounting to 2 percent of GDP, for large
modern economies are crippling.
The economic consequences and loss of life
for an earthquake may be aggregated into an
overall risk component, which for Malta
works out at:
Lm4;500;000=333yr
‡ …Lm400;000;000
45 persons ¤Lm1;750;000=1;800yr
‡ …Lm1;600;000;000
2;370 persons ¤Lm1;750;000=100;000yr
ˆLm 428;550pa:
The economic figure for a loss of life has
been obtained by assuming Malta’s GDP/
capita at one third of that of the advanced
countries in the EU.
This overall risk equates to Lm1/2 million
pa, which should be sought as a basis on
whether seismic retrofitting of buildings
should be undertaken or not.
The author had subdivided the Maltese
Islands into four regions for earthquake
hazard (Camilleri, 1999), dependent on the
geological formations. Table VII outlines
various data for the various regions, including
percentage of buildings built after 1960,
percentage of substand ard and unsound
buildings, populations densities, percentage
of population living below poverty line,
together with characteristics of the large
amount of vacant dwellings.
Of the recorded Mediterranean tsunami, 20
percent have been damaging (Swiss Re
Zurich, 1992). Recorded tsunami height
exceeding 20m have reportedly been reached
in the Eastern Mediterranean and the
Messina earthquake (M7.5, 1908) caused
waves of 8.5m on the Sicilian and more than
10m on the Calabrian Coast, with the
maximum height of 11.7m at S. Alessio
washing up 200m inland. The Messina Straits
and the eastern coastline of Sicily, especially
around Catania, have an average of up to 10
tsunamis per 1,000 years. The last tsunami
recorded in this region was 1954 and a high
probability exists for another tsunami
disaster. A 20m high tsunami wave on the
Greek coastline in 1956 is a reminder that
large and destructive tsunami can effect the
Mediterranean tourist packed beaches
(Dominey-Howes, 1998).
In the more exposed parts of the
Mediterranean, for long coastlines, the return
period for approximate run-up height of
tsunami wave has been given at (Swiss Re
Zurich, 1992): 100 years = 1.5m high;
500 years = 4.0m high; and 1,000 years =
7.0m high.
There are 13 active volcanoes in the Central
Mediterranean (see Table VI) with a chain
density of 68km. The general rate of activity is
related to the chain density. This varies as
37km for Central America, 42km for Japan,
and 88km in the northern island of New
Zealand.
Mount Etna, situated 220km due north of
Malta, is the largest active volcano in Europe
that erupts fairly regularly. It does not seem to
have exceeded VEI 3 over the last 3,500
years, but its two calderas and its rather
viscous lava are a warning that this is not an
absolute rule. Its extensive magna chamber
amounts to approximately 550km
2
with a
volume estimated at 1,600km
3
on an ellipsoid
structure extending horizontally 22 by 31km
and vertically 4km. Etnean eruptions tend to
be less explosive and therefore produce less
fine-grained fragmental debris and ash. Etna
erupted a total of 37 times during the
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and has
erupted six times so far during the twentieth
century.
Other volcanic areas include Pantelleria and
Limosa roughly in line with Malta. Further
Table VI The return periods in years for various volcanic explosive index
(VEI) for the Central Mediterranean
VEI 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
R (yrs) 80 750 5,000 45,000 650,000 16.10
6
8.10
10
Source: Swiss Re Zurich (1992)
Table V Quantification of losses for earthquake intensity
Earthquake
intensity
Loss to residential
premises only (Lm)
Total losses
(% GDP)
No. of
casualties
(persons)
MMV 4,500,000 1 0
MMVI 35,000,000 6 0
MMVII 400,000,000 70 45
MMVIII 1,600,000,000 300 2,370
Note: GDP (Malta, 1999) Lm1,500,000,000 1Lm = 2.5Euro
42
Malta’s risk minimisation to earthquake, volcanic a nd tsunami damage
Denis H. Camilleri
Disaster Prevention and Management
Volume 12 .Number 1 .2003 .37-47
north are Ustica, the Aeolian Islands 340km
away together with Vesuvius 570km away,
further up. In 1906, the height of column
reached by steam ejected from Vesuvius
reached 13km. During AD 79 the volume
ejected of solid material from Vesuvius during
an explosive eruption estimated at 4km
3
(max
recorded 1,000km
3
). Vesuvius has a span of
5.27 years between each eruption, with a
standard deviation of 4.8 years. The last
eruption dates back to 1944, which could be a
sign that a relatively violent event is probable
now. The span of time is longer than the 38
years of repose separating eruptions of 1906
and 1944, both VEI 3.
In 1930, the distance reached from a 30t
projectile from Stromboli reached 3km. The
greatest distance measured in 1883 was 80km
for pumice stores from Krakatou. Stromboli
tsunami in 1930 by a VEI 3 eruption
produced a 2.2m tsunami generated by the
shaking of the flanks of Stromboli, which
extend far out under the sea. It has erupted on
average every 3.25 years, but somewhat
irregularly, as shown by the standard
deviation of 5.35 years.
The damage caused by a volcanic eruption
depends primarily on the type and magnitude
of the eruption, on the distance between the
risk and the source, and on the wind direction
and meteorological conditions. The damage
that may affect the Maltese Islands appears to
be limited to those which, in turn could be the
cause of a reduction in visibility, temperature,
ash fall, build-up of corrosive and noxious
gases, together with effects of pressure
disturbance in the air and electrical
phenomena.
The worst earthquake-related peril to have
hit Malta is recorded as at 1693. In John
Shower’s Book (Ventura et al., 1994), written
five days after the earthquake, it is mentioned
that the roof of the Church of Our Lady
Tal-Pilar was thrown down, with part of that
of St Lawrence. The church and College of
the Jesuits also suffered very much, but the
Cathedral and St Paul’s Church in Rabat
received the greatest damage and are so
ruined that they can hardly be repaired. Most
of the houses are extremely shattered and
deserted by the inhabitants who now live in
Grotto’s and under tents in the fields. He also
mentions that the Grand Master was hunting,
presumably in the Buskett-Girgenti area and
was in great danger by the falling of a
mountain near him. Agius de Soldanis in his
manuscript Gozo Antico & Moderno, recounts
how the sea at Xlendi rolled out to about one
mile and swept back a little later ‘‘con grande
impeto and mormorio’’ in the earthquake of
1693.
Considering the above damage, in addition
to rock falls, together with a tsunami, it
appears that intensity of the 1693 earthquake
works out at MMVII.
Proposed risk minimization procedures
The above data should not make Malta
complacent to the above risks. Malta cannot
run the risk of being unprepared for the
effects of a medium sized earthquake. With
the economy concentrated in a small region,
with a high dependency on real estate due to
the high price of land, the situation is even
worse than in other localities, as help from
other parts of the country cannot remedy the
situation. The appropriate level of outside
relief should be determined by assessing the
community’s remaining capacity to provide
for its own population. Total collapse of the
community system is to be considered rare
and usually, the support and reinforcement
required is for the community to get back on
their feet, not for replacement or massive
influx of misplaced, well intentioned help,
with long term recovery hindered instead of
promoted. It has been noted, that when
casualties exceed two-thirds of 1 percent,
systems were sufficiently damaged to require
outside help. The percentage of those killed to
total casualties totalled 11 percent. For a
community with a casualty rate approaching
5 percent, it was found to have crossed the
threshold of system destruction or collapse,
with 33 percent of the total casualties killed.
With the casualty rate down to 0.00072
percent, of which only 1 percent were killed,
the community system remained largely intact
(Granot, 1995). The above emphasises the
need for proper risk disaster management of
the Maltese Islands, for losses to be mitigated
during the possible eventual strike of one of
the above perils, at MMVII, the number of
casualties was estimated at 0.125 percent of
the population, and at 3 percent for an
MMVIII. The infrequency of experiencing
crisis events leads to a reduction in
preparation and planning. Lack of experience
43
Malta’s risk minimisation to earthquake, volcanic a nd tsunami damage
Denis H. Camilleri
Disaster Prevention and Management
Volume 12 .Number 1 .2003 .37-47
is likely to produce lower non-routine
decision-m aking and with less skills, less
ability to adapt to the situation.
Earthquake damage, considering high
population densities (Table VII), in areas of
closely built, older residential dwellings would
affect mostly the building infrastructure, with
people made homeless. The high number of
vacant dwellings at 23 percent (Central Office
of Statistics, 1995) would help towards
relocating the evacuated population, possibly
to return to one’s original home site, or else to
stay with relatives. From Table V it appears
that a massive evacuation would occur from
the most stable geological region A. This
being mostly from the Inner Harbour area, as
it is the most densely populated and having a
higher proportion of older and substandard
buildings towards region C and Gozo, with
the greatest number of vacant premises in a
relatively good condition. This is possible as
the present Maltese population is housed at
0.65 persons per room, well below the
overcrowding statistic of four persons per
room (Granot, 1995).
In Table VIII, households made homeless
are classed as such when the MDR exceeds 50
percent. The present housing stock is
assumed to consist of 40 percent classified as
type B (Table II) and 50 percent as type C.
For an earthquake of intensity MMVII, the
households made homeless calculated at
14,500, whilst for intensity VIII, calculated at
30,000. The vacant dwellings are made up of
25 percent as type B and 75 percent as type
C. An earthquake of intensity MMVII would
cause 2,850 vacant dwellings to become
uninhabitable and 7,000 for MMVIII. The
number of stable vacant dwellings would then
be reduced to 32,873 and 28,723
respectively. These numbers are sufficient to
cater for the homeless at earthquakes of
intensity MMVII, but slightly below for
MMVIII.
During the tourist season the increased
density, from an additional 5 percent of
population in December increasing to
15 percent over the peak month of August,
overpressures lifelines - utilities,
communications, power supply, sanitation
and health services, to their limit. Simple rules
of good maintenan ce and providing
redundant sources of lifelines would help
avoid breaks and ruptures. A volcanic
eruption due to the infiltration of ash dust
would effect the agricultural sector together
with the increase in cleaning industries,
replacing previously more robust industries.
For an assumed 25cm ashfall thickness, the
damage to buildings was estimated at 10
percent (Held and Rossi, 1999). There is a
probability that Malta International Airport
would have to be closed for three to five days,
further complicating the arrival of foreign
help. The tourist industry would also be
affected. Tsunami damage would cause losses
to the infrastructural services and
warehousing facilities located close to the low-
lying coastal areas, defined as less than 3-5m
above sea level or 7-10m for a more
hazardous event. The vulnerability of
Mediterranean coastal settlements to tsunami
flooding has increased exponentially with
time due to the intense coastal urban
Table VII Characteristics of the sub-divided regions of the Maltese Islands
Region (km
2
)
Population
density
person/km*
Age structure of
dwellings –
% built after
1960
% substandard
and inadequate
occupied
dwellings**
% of poor
households
earning
< Lm2,500 p.a.***
% of vacant
dwellings
(% bad
condition)
A (158.7) 2126 56 6.4 24 17.17 (8.11)
Inner Harbour* (16.9) 5258 28 11.3 36 19.55 (11.73)
Outer Harbour* (33.3) 3389 66 5.7 20 13.8 (6.5)
B (33.0) 476 56 6.1 24 11.6 (19.4)
C (54.6) 298 76 3.6 22 61 (1.6)
Gozo (68.7) 422 60 5.9 33 39.3 (5.86)
Source: Census of Population and Households (Malta) 1995
Notes: * the highest population density occurs in Senglea in the Inner Harbour region at 22,744 persons/km; ** Zammit and Miljanic
Brinkwork ( 1997); * ** gross under-declaration of income exists
44
Malta’s risk minimisation to earthquake, volcanic a nd tsunami damage
Denis H. Camilleri
Disaster Prevention and Management
Volume 12 .Number 1 .2003 .37-47
development (Dominey-Howes, 1998).
For the above material and business
interruption, adopting pre-event strategic
preparedness management may mitigate
losses. Pre-event developments of capabilities
to respond realistically to the impact of an
event would reduce the cumulative impact of
crisis and problems. In crisis and disaster
response management, time is too limited for
consensus and slow response times or time
lags may have a number of causes. The costs
in human life and suffering and in overall loss
of structures and community resources will be
diminished by the application of pre-event
strategic preparedness and strategic
management.
The above perils may cause destruction,
mortality and casualties without warning and
the emergency creates immediate medical and
surgical needs. These needs vary: for an
earthquake, casualties for an MMVII are
estimated at 450 persons, whilst for an
MMVIII the estimate is 11,000 persons.
Owing to the entrapment under debris and
collapsing buildings, the most prevalent
injuries are fractures, cuts and entrapment,
requiring surgeons and orthopaedists with
splints and plaster of Paris, rather than
antidiarrhoeals and antibiotics, which are
more geared for tsunami flooding problems.
In a volcanic eruption, skin diseases
necessitate medical treatment. Access to the
hospital is crucial, so the hospital must not
only be tremor resistant, but also its access
routes must be debris-free for patients to be
delivered immediately. Roads with debris
from landslides extending for more than
60cm on a lane should have delays accounted
for. Improvement of the access systems,
together with retrofitting of traffic junctions
may be necessary. If doctors arrive at the
disaster areas with police or firemen, the
slightly injured can be dealt with immediately,
reducing greatly the congestion of both the
roads and health-care facilities. Here again,
foreknowledge and preparedness to such
major disasters is essential if response is to be
more efficient and effective (Gunn, 1995).
The rescue of entrapped personnel depends
on the type of buildings. The Maltese
masonry building would tend to collapse into
a mould of rubble, generating large quantities
of dust which can asphyxiate the victims. On
the other hand, such loose rubble can be
removed quite easily with hand tools by
survivors. This help initially comes from
people in the same locality and inhabitants of
the same building. Moreover, rescuers using
hands, shovels, axe, ladder account for the
largest number of rescued victims: 96.8
percent, as opposed to those rescued by
heavier sophisticated means, 3.2 percent
(Gunn, 1995). Removal of the dead would
need to be undertaken promptly for health,
psychological and sociological reasons.
Critical decisions need to be taken: who is to
be attended first and who therefore is last
(Heath, 1995)? The above underlines the
importance of public education and the
crucial role played by the community in
responding to its own disasters (Gunn, 1995).
A major impediment to planning and
preparedness is the constant assault on the
limited community resources. The present
social problems garner more of the
community’s attention and resources. When a
disaster does occur, it then becomes apparent
whether planning has been effective. The
recent earthquakes in Turkey and Greece are
to be a reminder that disasters are not
forgiving of poor building details. The losses
incurred in North America and Japan for
similar earthquake intensities were of a lower
level.
Table VIII Damage probability matrix for buildings (DPM)
Damage class %
of value
Mean damage ratio (%) (MDR)
1.5 3 5 10 25 37.5 50 60 70 85
0-1.5 (A) 83 73 60 36 9 2
1.5-3 (B) 17 25 26 23 9 3
3-6 (C) 2 10 18 11 5 2
6-12.5 (D) 3 12 18 12 6 2 1
12.5-25 (E) 1 8 24 24 15 7 3
25-50 (F) 3 19 28 29 23 18 10
50-100 (G) 1 10 29 48 68 78 90
Source: Swiss Re Zurich (1992)
45
Malta’s risk minimisation to earthquake, volcanic a nd tsunami damage
Denis H. Camilleri
Disaster Prevention and Management
Volume 12 .Number 1 .2003 .37-47
Since the 1960s, the philosophy has
changed from attempting to control the
ravages of nature to mitigation activity, with
governments playing a critical role. They have
the authority to regulate land use and building
design (Fischer III et al., 1996). A building
inventory, whether public or highly
fragmented among small landlords, has been
recognised as an important factor during
emergency operations, when the question of
where to put temporary shelters may arise.
Data stored in parishes and historic archives
should be used to obtain a probabilistic map
of future disaster events. The percentage of
houses owned privately, presently standing at
around 70 percent for Malta, together with
people’s average income, which Table VII
tells us which has the lowest in the most
densely populated Inner Harbour area also
having the worst building stock condition, are
important data for assessing the possibility of
retrofitting existing buildings before an event,
(Menoni and Pergalani, 1996). This prior
retrofitting also helps in rebuilding to a higher
standard in the aftermath of a disaster. Higher
educational standards help increase risk
awareness. Furthermore, actively encouraging
residents to purchase disaster insurance is to
be encouraged; the smaller the amount of
direct loss passed on to insurance companies,
the more the government and affected people
would have to bear more of these losses.
Another option is preparing planning tools
and strategic choices for reconstru ction before
a disaster (Menoni and Pergalani, 1996).
Anticipating many important choices will ease
the return to normality and in a more efficient
and organized way than would happen in the
aftermath of a disaster, when planners are
under pressure.
While risk can never be fully mitigated and
response and recovery planning can never
eliminate all problems during the post-impact
period of any hazard, increased preparedness
will save more lives, properties and protect the
economy (Fischer III et al., 1996). The
estimation of the maximum possible loss from
natural catastrophes can serve as a basis for
catastrophe planning. It is recommended that
Malta does not wait for a major peril before
seriously enhancing strategic preparedness
and mitigation management for the above
perils.
References
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management’’, Report of a Royal Society Study
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46
Malta’s risk minimisation to earthquake, volcanic a nd tsunami damage
Denis H. Camilleri
Disaster Prevention and Management
Volume 12 .Number 1 .2003 .37-47
Seiler, H. and Beinz, A.F. (2001), ``Law and technical risks:
risk based regulation: practical experience’’, Safety,
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47
Malta’s risk minimisation to earthquake, volcanic a nd tsunami damage
Denis H. Camilleri
Disaster Prevention and Management
Volume 12 .Number 1 .2003 .37-47
... Disaster recovery was found in the research conducted in Camilleri (2003), where he states that Malta, situated in the Sicily Channel, forms part of the relatively stable northernmost platform of the African continent. This fact should not make Malta complacent to the above damage. ...
... The current rebuilding cost under normal conditions of only the residential property market, works out at twice the GDP (Camilleri, 2003). During the tourist season the increased density, from an additional 5% of population in December increasing to 15% over the peak month of August, overpressures lifelines, utilities, communications, power supply, sanitation and health services, to their limit (Camilleri, 2003). ...
... The current rebuilding cost under normal conditions of only the residential property market, works out at twice the GDP (Camilleri, 2003). During the tourist season the increased density, from an additional 5% of population in December increasing to 15% over the peak month of August, overpressures lifelines, utilities, communications, power supply, sanitation and health services, to their limit (Camilleri, 2003). ...
... Disaster recovery was found in the research conducted in Camilleri (2003), where he states that Malta, situated in the Sicily Channel, forms part of the relatively stable northernmost platform of the African continent. This fact should not make Malta complacent to the above damage. ...
... The current rebuilding cost under normal conditions of only the residential property market, works out at twice the GDP (Camilleri, 2003). During the tourist season the increased density, from an additional 5% of population in December increasing to 15% over the peak month of August, overpressures lifelines, utilities, communications, power supply, sanitation and health services, to their limit (Camilleri, 2003). ...
... The current rebuilding cost under normal conditions of only the residential property market, works out at twice the GDP (Camilleri, 2003). During the tourist season the increased density, from an additional 5% of population in December increasing to 15% over the peak month of August, overpressures lifelines, utilities, communications, power supply, sanitation and health services, to their limit (Camilleri, 2003). ...
... Disaster recovery was found in the research conducted in Camilleri (2003), where he states that Malta, situated in the Sicily Channel, forms part of the relatively stable northernmost platform of the African continent. This fact should not make Malta complacent to the above damage. ...
... The current rebuilding cost under normal conditions of only the residential property market, works out at twice the GDP (Camilleri, 2003). During the tourist season the increased density, from an additional 5% of population in December increasing to 15% over the peak month of August, overpressures lifelines, utilities, communications, power supply, sanitation and health services, to their limit (Camilleri, 2003). ...
... The current rebuilding cost under normal conditions of only the residential property market, works out at twice the GDP (Camilleri, 2003). During the tourist season the increased density, from an additional 5% of population in December increasing to 15% over the peak month of August, overpressures lifelines, utilities, communications, power supply, sanitation and health services, to their limit (Camilleri, 2003). ...
Book
Malta is the only country in the European Union, and one of only six countries in the world, that has not had a banking crisis since the 1970s. Despite its lack of raw materials, Malta currently has one of the lowest rates of unemployment and inflation in the EU, as well as a positive GDP. Yet there are only a few studies on the development of the industry that contributes most to its economy, the financial services industry. Drawing upon empirical findings, archival research, and interviews, Zammit, Spiteri, and Grima fill a major gap in the literature by delivering a study of the development of the Maltese insurance industry. The authors collect literature and insights from prominent figureheads in order to outline the history of this major sector of the Maltese economy, tracing its roots back to the earliest inhabitants of the island, through to the expansion of its maritime trade, and working right up to the present with the emergence of more complex and sophisticated insurance services and products. The success of Malta's specific risk-management practices, generally characterized by risk-avoidance and prudence, is shown to have implications beyond Maltese financial policy and regulatory development: it offers concrete guidance from a small-scale "laboratory" for the complex policy and development decisions of larger nations. This study is of interest to students and academics of insurance, risk management, and financial services, and it offers food for thought and guidance to practitioners and policy makers.
... Until recently, quantitative regional seismic risk analysis was not available for the islands. From limited data and based on expert judgement, Camilleri (2003) initially estimated return periods of 333, 1,800, and 100,000 years for VI, VII, and VIII Modified Mercalli intensity earthquakes for the islands. These guesstimates correspond to peak ground accelerations (PGA) in the order of 0.02 -0.05, 0.05 -0.1, and 0.1 -0.2 g, respectively. ...
... The study showed that the northern segment of the Hyblean-Malta plateau poses the biggest threat to the islands, but active fault zones of the Sicily Channel Rift Zone as well as major Hellenic Arc earthquakes are also found to present a potential hazard. Estimates of return periods for various earthquake intensities based on the catalogue range between 18 years to 1000 years for an intensity range of V to VIII, which are significantly lower than the previous estimates by Camilleri (2003). ...
Technical Report
The risk of Natech accidents due to earthquakes at hazardous installations in Marsaxlokk Bay in Malta was analysed and mapped using the RAPID-N tool of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre. This study was based on the earthquake scenarios of Malta's National Risk Assessment and it used industry data from safety reports and public resources. [The rest of the abstract is confidential]
... Similarly, deferred maintenance has been identified as a major contributory factor to disasters through its effect on capacity reduction. (Prieto, 2002;Camilleri, 2003;Benson and Twigg, 2007;Chmutina and Bosher, 2014) ...
... Consideration of specific project issues in the post-disaster context includes that given by Olsen and Porter (2011) to the phenomenon of price rises in construction following a disaster, Camilleri (2003) on the siting of temporary shelters, Swan (2000) on the management of debris and Grosskopf (2010) on the particular safety challenges and training requirements for disaster recovery and reconstruction. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The construction industry is central to the promotion of disaster resilience through building procurement, design, construction, etc. It plays a key role in responding to disasters - dealing with collapsed and damaged buildings and infrastructure and providing temporary shelter and services to affected communities - and also in post-disaster reconstruction efforts. This research identifies the disaster resilience roles of construction professionals on the basis of the literature and maps these to the disaster management cycle in order to draw on the emerging framework to determine potential construction industry education and research opportunities associated with the pursuit of societal disaster resilience.
... On the plus side, these vacant properties would come to good use in the scenario that a natural disaster befalls Malta, as the homeless would then not find accommodation for years on end in tents or makeshift premises. A previous study Camilleri (2003) undertaken had shown that sufficient vacant properties are existing for such a scenario. ...
... This signifies that for Malta, the global credit crunch is beneficial to the first time homeowners. An improvement in the quality of life of the Maltese family is to occur, as a main job should be sufficient to own one's home.Drawing a comparison with the French situation in earlier years, the HAI was 100 in 1992, and then increased steadily to 160 in 1999, whilst dipping to 140 by2003, Ball (2004. affordability for first time buyers over the period 1982 -2008, has varied slightly as noted in table 4 averaging out at 77 for a 3 bed/r apartment and at 112 for a 2 bed/r apartment. ...
Book
Full-text available
Collates the papers and presents for the first time housing property facts of the Maltese Islands during a conference organised by the Chamber of Architects & civil Engineers in conjunction with the Building Industry Consultative Council in 1999.
... It is important to consider whether this represents 'newly generated vulnerability' (Alexander 1997, p. 292), a boost in resilience, or a subtly nuanced picture containing elements of both. The studies that have been published to date (Camilleri 1999(Camilleri , 2003Galea 2007;Borg et al. 2008;Vella et al. 2013) give few grounds for optimism but allow the following summary statements to be made: ...
Article
Full-text available
International comparisons of disaster risk frequently classify Malta as being one of the least hazard exposed countries. Such rankings may be criticised because: (1) they fail to take into account historic increases in population and its seasonal variation; (2) they are based on inadequately researched and incomplete historical catalogues of damaging events; and (3), for small island states like Malta, they do not take into account the implications of restricted land area, which can be disproportionately impacted by even small hazardous events. In this paper, we draw upon a variety of data to discuss disaster risk in the Maltese Islands. In particular, the notion that Malta is one of the ‘safest places on earth’ is not only misleading, but also potentially dangerous because it engenders a false sense of security amongst the population. We argue that Malta is exposed to a variety of extreme events, which include: the distal effects of major earthquakes originating in southern Italy and Greece, plus their associated tsunamis; major ash producing eruptions of Mount Etna (Sicily) and their putative impacts on air transport; storm waves; coastal/inland landslides; karstic collapse; flooding and drought. In criticising international rankings of the islands’ exposure, we highlight the issues involved in formulating hazard assessments, in particular incomplete catalogues of extreme natural events. With Malta witnessing swelling resident, seasonal (i.e. tourist) plus foreign-born populations and increases in the urban area, further research into hazards is required in order to develop evidence-based policies of disaster risk reduction (DRR).
... On the plus side, these vacant properties would come to good use in the scenario that a natural disaster befalls Malta, as the homeless would then not find accommodation for years on end in tents or makeshift premises. A previous study undertaken by Camilleri (2003) had shown that sufficient vacant properties are existing for such a scenario. ...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose – The paper aims at analyzing trends and principal causes of developments in-house prices in Malta over the past 26 years, with a specific focus on the issue of affordability. This focusing on the strong demand for home ownership and interest from foreign buyers, supply availability together with its relationship to the high vacancy rate existing. Also delved into include the distortions in the rental market, sustainable housing measures, housing densities and high-rise developments. Finally, noted is the implication on the use of housing as an investment asset in relation to trading on Malta's Stock Exchange Design/methodology/approach – A long-term approach has been utilized to arrive at deductions. Comparisons undertaken taken mostly with small states. Findings – The present global credit crunch can offer some relief with regard to housing affordability for first time Maltese home buyers. Updating of restricted home rentals can lead to an improved working for the Maltese property market, with some of the large proportion of vacant units being released onto the market. Research limitations/implications – Based on data collected from National Statistics, together with data bases held in the practice of DHI Periti. Practical implications – It derives projections for likely future developments in this context and in the light of this discusses some policy options. Social implications – An improvement into the quality of life for Maltese households delved into, whilst providing measures for households not to fall below the poverty line also indicated. Originality/value – Gives original views on projections for the housing affordability index, together with noting that a large vacant property market for the Mediterranean region possibly creates minimal damage to its proper functioning.
... Tackling vulnerabilities not directly related to climate change is necessary to ensure comprehensive, integrated, and implementable sustainable tourism policies and beyond, especially in the island context (Kelman & Lewis, 2005;Lewis, 1999;Pelling & Uitto, 2001). Examples of other vulnerabilities for Malta are earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis (Camilleri, 1999(Camilleri, , 2003(Camilleri, , 2006 plus emigration (e.g., Delia, 1982;Jones, 1973). Examples of other vulnerabilities for Calvià are the low level of education, crime, lack of integration by migrants, and potential overpopulation (Dodds, 2007). ...
Article
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Mediterranean island case studies of Calvià, Mallorca, and Malta are used to examine how sustainable tourism policies do, do not, and should factor in climate change in order to reduce the vulnerabilities of the tourism sector to climate change. Data were collected from key actors responsible for policy implementation as well as tourism policy and planning documents from Malta's and Calvià's tourism industries. Tourism in both sites has significant vulnerabilities to climate change, but climate change was rarely stated as being an important tourism issue. That was the case even when policies include measures that contribute to climate change adaptation, although those policies were implemented for reasons other than climate change. Six policy suggestions are made for adapting to climate change in the case studies' tourism industries: Enacting effective control systems to ensure that policies are implemented and monitored; improving education and awareness on climate change and its potential impacts; placing sustainable tourism and climate change within broader policy frameworks; implementing economic incentives to encourage adjustment strategies; using accountable, flexible, and participatory approaches for addressing climate change in sustainable tourism policies; and filling in policy gaps while further integrating policies. Placing climate change into wider contexts reveals that some aspects of tourism might not be sustainable for small islands. Climate change should therefore be one dimension among many topics within sustainable tourism policies. That approach would provide impetus and support for pursuing strategies that should also be implemented for reasons other than climate change.
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Full-text available
A historical catalogue of felt earthquakes in the Maltese islands has been compiled dating back to 1530. Although no fatalities were officially recorded during this time as a direct consequence of earthquake effects, serious damage to buildings occurred several times. In the catalogue time period, the islands experienced EMS-98 intensity VII-VIII once (11 January 1693) and intensity VII, or VI-VII five times. The northern segment of the Hyblean-Malta plateau is the source region which appears to pose the greatest threat, although large Greek events and lower magnitude Sicily Channel events also produced damage. Estimates of return periods for intensity ?V are presented, and it is shown that expected peak ground accelerations justify the implementation of, at least, minimum anti-seismic provisions. The rapid and continual increase in the local building stock on the densely-populated islands warrants the implementation of an appropriate seismic building code to be enforced.
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Full-text available
Malta being situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, the natural disasters discussed are earthquakes and related perils, volcanism, and tsunamis. The anticipated damage for a particular type of structure subjected to a defined earthquake intensity is presented in a matrix giving the relative mean damage ratio (MDR) 1. The MDR is then adjusted according to the stiffness and irregularity of the structure by constants quoted in the paper. The damage probability matrix (DPM) 1 for buildings then follows, as potential damage could be much higher than the MDR. The percentage deathrate 1 for earthquake intensity is also presented, after taking into account the proportion of damage due to non-structural causes. This gives an interesting insight into the number of casualties occurring, depending on grade of damage to building. Recorded damage from volcanoes and tsunamis 1 is then given, with particular emphasis on the Mediterranean region. The information provided makes structural engineers aware of the various perils that exist: they may utilise their expertise in the area of disaster management by advising on setting parameters prior to the calculation of a risk assessment, for reducing the risks. In conclusion, to evaluate the various risk hazards, the Maltese Islands are split into four regions, according to geological relief formation and population density.
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Shows a framework to assess urban and regional vulnerability. Starting from the first attempts to measure the vulnerability component of risk (the latter given as the combination of hazard and vulnerability) which have been carried out in Italy but which considered only single buildings, the method used until now is broadened to take into account also the vulnerability of the subsystems which are part of regional systems as well as social and economic vulnerabilities. Some important parameters have been identified to evaluate these vulnerabilities, and put in a framework which aids the assessment of overall regional and urban vulnerability. According to the authors’ opinion such a framework can be very useful in addressing planners’ and public administrators’ decisions both on preventive strategies and during the preparation of reconstruction plans. This framework has been applied to a small seismic settlement in Lombardy, Toscolano Maderno.
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A major earthquake causes massive destruction, high mortality, many casualties and protracted health problems. The impact creates immediate medical needs at the epicentre, while secondary health-related problems are likely to arise in the areas to which the stricken population has moved for safety, or even afar in time and space, should the country′s socio-economic destabilization cause further deterioration of the health conditions. Epidemiological studies have shed light on the disease patterns following disasters, including earthquakes, and preparedness measures are possible. Discusses hospitals, injury, patient transport, logistics, communications, and disease and treatment problems arising from recent earthquakes, including Kobe.
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The ordering of our priorities for safety and the proper husbanding of the world's limited resources depend on us having realistic understanding of the multifarious risks surrounding us. This Paper progresses from everyday short-term risks such as motor accidents to the longer term risks of project management and the evolutionary risks influencing the course of our work.
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Rapid assessment of a community's capacity to continue coping in the aftermath of disaster could be of great value. Gradations of community consequences can provide emergency planners with criteria to guide them to realistic needs assessment and are invaluable to researchers in classifying incidents by intensity. Conventional wisdom might lead us to view impact on community functioning in disasters as a continuum, ranging from minimal to total collapse. Such a perception lacks clear-cut gradation, making administrative judgements difficult and contributing to the squandering of relief resources because of our inaccurate assessment of the community's incapacity. The precise points where communities cross damage thresholds resulting in the collapse of infrastructure appear at first, to vary inexplicably. Careful consideration suggests three sets of factors which interface to affect these thresholds. Taken together, these will raise or lower community capacity to cope with adversity. The appropriate level of emergency relief could best be determined if we can strengthen our ability to assess rapidly the community's remaining capacity to provide for its own population. Proposes that this could be accomplished by the scaling of three sets of factors: community background, event factors and impact factors. Although the need for scaling cannot be denied, the specifics of this suggestion will need to be tested to determine their applicability.
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There is sometimes a divergence of opinion between scientists and the general public on the acceptability of the risk associated with an industrial project. This divergence has sometimes been attributed to a lack of understanding of scientific issues on the part of the general public. Attempts to gain acceptance have therefore centred on public education or information campaigns. Scientific assessment of risk concentrates on the parameters of probability and severity. The phenomenon of the issue-attention cycle demonstrates, however, that perceived risk can vary without the probability or severity changing, indicating that there is a third factor which is a major determinant of perceived or subjective risk. This is the salience of the issue. The complexity of modern society makes it impossible to evaluate all risks objectively. In everyday life heuristics, or rules of thumb, are therefore used to evaluate those risks which have the greatest effect in our personal environment. The process of making the public aware of an issue which needs to be evaluated in this way is referred to as “agenda setting”.
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Presents a method of analysis to obtain risk profiles for major adverse events. The method is based on a previously published method for probabilistically modelling historical data of past major accidents and disasters. Shows that insurable costs arising from such major events can be modelled using the two-parameter Weibull distribution. Values of parameters obtained using different data sets are seen to be comparable in value. Discusses the relevance of this work to risk analysis and identifies areas of research requiring future development.
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The response management of the Kobe earthquake in 1995 provides practitioners and theorists of crisis and disaster management with much to consider. As in other efforts around the world the Kobe response management appeared slow and less than optimal in performance. Focuses on the effects of magnitude of impact and degree of strategic preparedness that may affect response. Magnitude of impact is the degree to which impact damage seems random in occurrence, the size of the impact area, the severity of impact, the ratio of visible to invisible damage, the number of major sub-event crises triggered by the impact of the event, and the degree of psychological distortion caused by (or accelerated by) the impact of the event. The degree of strategic preparedness depends on the degree to which response managers can successfully translate meta-strategic missions and objectives into operational strategies that are realistic and achievable in any given crisis or disaster event. Components of strategic preparedness include the provision of escalation triggers, establishing cascaded priorities, and having and maintaining a dynamic reserve. Planning and preparing for crises and disasters needs to include cascade strategic priority profiles for communities, consideration of cultural features of organizations and communities in developing plans and preparedness, establishing quantifiable escalation triggers for response management, and developing and maintaining a working dynamic reserve.
Article
Argues that, while the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (USA) is found to be a low to moderate risk area in terms of seismic vulnerability, it is vulnerable to future episodes which could be quite threatening to a sizeable population. Degree of seismic vulnerability varies across the Commonwealth. Pursuant to assessing Pennsylvania’s earthquake preparedness, the Commonwealth’s various state agencies (n = 12) and the campuses comprising Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (n = 14) were asked to complete a mail-questionnaire which sought to determine their degree of earthquake experience, risk assessment activity, mitigation activity, and planning for response and recovery. A response rate of 78 per cent was attained. The experience, activity, and planning levels were found to be consistently low. These findings are consistent with research literature which describes the circumstances under which hazard reduction is likely to occur.