Vulnerability to Natural Hazards in Romania
Abstract: The vulnerability assessment integrates the analysis of the conditions and the characteristics of a system that is exposed to a certain type of natural hazard. In the model that has been used in the present paper, the vulnerability was assessed at the administrative unit (county) level, as a result of the interaction between hazard and the exposed components of the system. The assessment of the exposure was done by measuring the total value of goods, resources and population that are exposed to natural hazards. There were selected 39 indicators, which were included into four major groups, depending on the main factors (physical, social, environmental and economic) that enhance the susceptibility of communities to natural hazards and on the elements that are exposed to these events. Each indicator was classified on a scale from 1 to 5 (1 – very low, 5 – very high). The sum of the indicators was reclassified according to the same model and, finally, the total exposure was obtained. The natural hazard was assessed according to the same principle, the earthquake, flood and landslide prone surfaces being taken into consideration. The total vulnerability was determined by overlapping the results. The analysis of the vulnerability enables the identification of the regions that need the allocation of financial resources in order to diminish the negative impact of natural hazards. Moreover, the vulnerability studies can be added to the natural hazards analyses, thus representing the fundament of the correct assessment of the risk that is associated to natural hazards.