AbstractsGeography &GIS


Physical vulnerability is a key parameter in risk estimation. It defines the level of damage given that the hazard is realized, and hence translates hazard levels into risk levels. The quantitative assessment of vulnerability in the context of hazard and risk analysis has grown in importance due to global environmental change impacts, as well as social and economic changes. Landslide consequences are underestimated in many parts of the world, Romania being one of the East European countries where transportation networks, buildings, essential facilities and lifelines are severely damaged by mass failures and associated processes, yet the knowledge about the exposure to different types of landslide processes, the quality and quantity of the elements at risk and the relation between the landslide damage potential and the susceptibility to loss of the threatened objects or systems is limited. The objective of this work is to estimate quantitatively the vulnerability of buildings, roads and population to rockfalls, earth slides and mud flows in Buzău County. The study area was selected due to its complex geological, climatic and environmental setting as well as for the long settlement history which resulted in dynamic interactions between the natural and anthropic systems, with important consequences for the stability of slopes. The study is performed at (i) regional scale, where the exposure of the built environment to landslides is assessed using the landslide susceptibility map and the settlements footprint, and at (ii) local scale, where vulnerability functions for different types buildings and roads are developed. The results show that in terms of landslide damages, regional roads were the most affected elements with total losses exceeding 10 million Euros for the period 2005 – 2011. The exposure analysis indicated that 91% of the settlements located in the selected study area are characterized by slopes with moderate to high landslide susceptibility. Moreover, these settlements pertain to the administrative units with the highest population density. Vulnerability analysis in Nehoiu catchment generally indicated that industrial and educational buildings are the most resistant to the impact of landslides, whereas the regional road DJ 103P is moderately vulnerable for landslide intensities measured as landslide height and ranges between 1 and 1.5 m, but can be severely affected by landslides with intensities exceeding 2.5 m. Finally, recommendations for the improvement of the methodology and study results along with future research work are discussed.