Scientists and policy officials are seeking good answers to such questions using what are known as disaster vulnerability and resilience indices, which are comparable to blood pressure and vital health signs pointing to an individual's risk of a heart attack or other disease.
"Natural disaster indices are already increasing in number and being used by many public and private organizations, as current environmental risks continue to plague communities across the globe," says Dr.
"Climate change is expected to increase the severity of many types of disasters," Linkov adds. However, because the damaging impacts will not be equal across space and time, "disaster vulnerability and resilience indices can be very useful tools for decision makers to quickly assess and target resources to places of greatest need." Unfortunately, few indices have been empirically validated--that is, until now.
In a paper published in the online version of Risk Analysis, a publication of the
Their paper, "Validating Resilience and Vulnerability Indices in the Context of Natural Disasters," systematically tests how well the indices perform in explaining common disaster outcomes. Researchers
Using observed losses, fatalities, and disaster declarations from the southeastern
As a start toward better indices, the researchers suggest that experts who develop resilience models should specify their intended purposes and use constraints and conduct empirical validation to better guide end users in effectively using the models. To support further improvements in quantifying vulnerability and resilience, the authors propose a Resilience Matrix, a decision analytical framework to help organize metrics of vulnerability and resilience into domains (physical, information, cognitive, social) and stages of disaster management (prepare, absorb, recover, adapt).
Risk Analysis: An
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