The term risk is understood as defined by ISDR (2004), namely the “probability of harmful consequences, or expected losses (deaths, injuries, property, livelihoods, economic activity disrupted or environmental damage) resulting from interactions between natural or human-induced hazards and vulnerable conditions.”
Risk modeling encompasses the assessment of two components: hazard and vulnerability. The first is a quantification of:
Vulnerability assessment is more or less independent of hazard assessment and quantifies:
An interdisciplinary approach is accordingly needed, bringing together research from the natural and social sciences.
The aim of this work is to develop and provide concepts and methodologies appropriate for describing and quantifying hazard and vulnerability. Spatially explicit risk assessment results and products constitute important information for effective disaster management. It should be stressed that risk assessment “serves as a general guideline for developing disaster preparedness and adaptation strategies based on a continuous strategy of risk and vulnerability assessment” (ISDR 2004).
The risk assessment products developed contain specific information reflecting the different phases within the disaster management cycle. Hence, their applicability for disaster management in the fields of disaster risk reduction (measures taken before a disaster occurs) and response (measures taken during and after a disaster) is ensured. The research focuses on delivering reliable information as contributions to the:
During a disaster
Documentation of risk and vulnerability assessment strategies in technical manuals and application guidelines feeding into disaster management strategies at community and national levels constitutes an important aspect of the work (for example, the UNESCO IOC guidelines on tsunami risk assessment).
Additionally, the transfer and build-up of knowledge and competence are implemented by capacity building measures (trainings, workshops).