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Disaster risk analysis part 2: The systemic underestimation of risk

Source(s):  De Gruyter

How risk is defined, the nature of methodologies used to assess risk, and the degree to which rare events should be included in a disaster risk analysis, are important considerations when developing policies, programs and priorities to manage risk. Each of these factors can significantly affect risk estimation.

In Part 1 this paper concluded that excluding rare events has the potential to seriously underestimate the cumulative risk from all possible events, for example, of the 100 most expensive weather disasters in the US, the single most expensive event accounts for 16% of total economic impacts. Similarly, the worst explosion disaster accounts for 17% of the fatalities of the total 100 worst events. though including them can be very challenging both from a methodological and data availability perspective. Underestimating risk can result in flawed disaster risk reduction policies, resulting in insufficient attention being devoted to mitigation and/or prevention.

In Part 2, the document surveys various governmental emergency management policies and methodologies in order to evaluate varying equations used to define risk, and to assess potential biases within disaster risk analyses that do comparative risk ranking.

The findings were

  1. that the equations used to define risk used by emergency management organizations are frequently less robust than they should or are able to be, and

  2. that methodologies used to assess risk are often inadequate to properly account for the potential contribution of rare events. We conclude that there is a systemic bias within many emergency management organizations that results in underestimation of risk.

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  • Disaster risk analysis part 2: The systemic underestimation of risk
  • Publication date 2019
  • Author(s) Mamuji, Aaida; Etkin, David
  • Number of pages 29 p.

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