Article

Mountain risks and hazards

Authors:
  • FIEBIGER CONSULTING
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Abstract

In the mountains, human lives, property, infrastructures and ecosystems are threatened repeatedly by various hazards and dangerous processes. Natural hazards in the mountains include large-scale hazards such as earthquakes, droughts, eruptions and hurricanes, as well as others originated by small-scale mass movements of water, snow, ice, soil and rock. Dangerous natural processes include avalanches, debris flows, floods, landslides, rockfalls and other disastrous mass movements of soil and rocks. In mountainous regions these processes easily lead to casualties, injuries, destruction of goods and ecological damage. Humans pursue safety-seek to remove risks or at least to diminish and control them-through both systematic planning and intuitive measures. This article introduces some methods for evaluating the hazards and dangers and for assessing and reducing risks, and describes various types of preventive measures. It emphasizes the role of forests and land use planning in mitigating risk in mountainous regions. It advocates consideration of the traditional risk adaptive measures of mountain communities. The socio-economic conditions of mountain people play an important part in their vulnerability to risk and their ability to prevent and mitigate disaster. The article concludes with a call for integrated, cross-sectoral, participatory approaches to risk mitigation.

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... In addition, there are hazards resulting from natural processes such as avalanches, debris fl ows, fl oods, landslides, rockfalls, and other mass movements of soil and rocks. These natural hazards can affect mountain areas by causing ecological damage and destruction to property as well as harming mountain communities (Zingari and Fiebiger 2002 ). Through appropriate land use management, vegetation, and protection, forests can play a critical role in reducing risks associated with mountain hazards. ...
... Thus, there is a need to focus research and activities on local context of source area, post-failure behavior, and trigger and early warning in formulating a hazard assessment strategy (Evans et al. 2007 ). An example is given by Zingari and Fiebiger ( 2002 ) which recommends steps to planning for safety and reducing risks such as risk analysis; risk identifi cation; risk assessment including event analysis, impact analysis, and exposition analysis; risk valuation; and planning and implementing countermeasures. Moreover, the Regional Consultative Committee on Disaster Management presents case studies of best practices on integrating risk information into land use planning including (i) hazard characterization, (ii) incorporating disaster risk information in local planning, (iii) hazard vulnerability and zonation mapping, (iv) incorporating hazard risk information in land use plans by taking advantage of post-disaster reconstruction, (v) mainstreaming disaster risk reduction in land use and physical planning, and (vi) principles and practice of ecologically sensitive urban planning and design, among others (ADPC 2011 ). ...
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... In mountainous area, local communities are particularly exposed to natural hazards due to some characteristics inherent to the physical and socio-institutional environment (Zingari and Fiebiger, 2002;Hewitt & 25 Metha, 2012). This leads to important costs for communities with often limited resources and have significant impacts on public opinion (Barroca et al., 2005). ...
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