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How useful and reliable are disaster databases in the context of climate and global change? A comparative case study analysis in Peru


Huggel, Christian; Raissig, Annik; Rohrer, Mario; Romero, Gilberto; Diaz, Alfonso; Salzmann, Nadine (2014). How useful and reliable are disaster databases in the context of climate and global change? A comparative case study analysis in Peru. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 2(6):4331-4362.

Abstract

Loss and damage caused by weather and climate related disasters have increased over the past decades, and growing exposure and wealth have been identified as main drivers of this increase. Disaster databases are a primary tool for the analysis of disaster characteristics and trends at global or national scales, and support disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. However, the quality, consistency and completeness of different disaster databases are highly variable. Even though such variation critically influences the outcome of any study, comparative analyses of different disaster databases are still rare to date. Furthermore, there is an unequal geographic distribution of current disaster trend studies, with developing countries being under-represented.
Here, we analyze three different disaster databases for the developing country context of Peru; a global database (EM-DAT), a regional Latin American (DesInventar) and a national database (SINPAD). The analysis is performed across three dimensions, (1) spatial scales, from local to regional (provincial) and national scale; (2) time scales, from single events to decadal trends; and (3) disaster categories and metrics, including the number of disaster occurrence, and damage metrics such as people killed and affected.
Results show limited changes in disaster occurrence in the Cusco and Apurímac regions in southern Peru over the past four decades, but strong trends in people affected at the national scale. We furthermore found large variations of the disaster parameters studied over different spatial and temporal scales, depending on the disaster database analyzed. We conclude and recommend that the type, method and source of documentation should be carefully evaluated for any analysis of disaster databases; reporting criteria should be improved and documentation efforts strengthened.

Loss and damage caused by weather and climate related disasters have increased over the past decades, and growing exposure and wealth have been identified as main drivers of this increase. Disaster databases are a primary tool for the analysis of disaster characteristics and trends at global or national scales, and support disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. However, the quality, consistency and completeness of different disaster databases are highly variable. Even though such variation critically influences the outcome of any study, comparative analyses of different disaster databases are still rare to date. Furthermore, there is an unequal geographic distribution of current disaster trend studies, with developing countries being under-represented.
Here, we analyze three different disaster databases for the developing country context of Peru; a global database (EM-DAT), a regional Latin American (DesInventar) and a national database (SINPAD). The analysis is performed across three dimensions, (1) spatial scales, from local to regional (provincial) and national scale; (2) time scales, from single events to decadal trends; and (3) disaster categories and metrics, including the number of disaster occurrence, and damage metrics such as people killed and affected.
Results show limited changes in disaster occurrence in the Cusco and Apurímac regions in southern Peru over the past four decades, but strong trends in people affected at the national scale. We furthermore found large variations of the disaster parameters studied over different spatial and temporal scales, depending on the disaster database analyzed. We conclude and recommend that the type, method and source of documentation should be carefully evaluated for any analysis of disaster databases; reporting criteria should be improved and documentation efforts strengthened.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:10 Dec 2014 17:11
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:36
Publisher:Copernicus Publications
ISSN:1561-8633
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.5194/nhessd-2-4331-2014
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-102069

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