STEP 11

STEP 11. DISASTER RISK ASSESSMENT

11.1 P3DM for disaster risk assessment

Vulnerability and capacity are abstract concepts even when disasters have previously occurred in the area. To make vulnerability and capacity tangible, it is essential to relate them to the potential threat of natural hazards. For instance,  dangerous  areas  with  a  large  number  of  houses  made  of  wood and palm, and with many children, pregnant women, elderly, and people with  a  disability  or  permanent  illness  can  be  readily  considered  at  high risk. On the other hand, areas with lower hazards, less vulnerable people and more local resources may be considered at low risk. The 3D map clearly portrays vulnerabilities, capacities and hazards represented by pushpins, yarns and pins.

Therefore,  one  of  the  purposes  of  P3DM  for  DRR  is  to  make  these  issues tangible and to lay the foundations for assessing disaster risk. After plotting the  map  features,  a  disaster  risk  assessment  can  easily  and  quickly  be conducted by the participants themselves.

This assessment of disaster risk therefore reflects the perspective of the local community supported by outside stakeholders, not that of the sole scientists or government officials based upon data extracted from locals. In that sense, it does not require any sophisticated equations, formula or computations.

11.2 Steps in conducting disaster risk assessment through P3DM

The disaster risk assessment table also provides quantitative data. P3DM thus  generates  what  Chambers  (2007)  has  called  ‘participatory  numbers’ or  numbers  created  through  participatory  methods  and  approaches,  not just  through  survey  questionnaires  or  other  statistical  methods  driven by  outsiders  and  external  interests.  Participatory  numbers  are  often essential to make local knowledge, skills and resources tangible to outside stakeholders  who  often  request  for  quantitative  data  to  make  policy decision.  Assessing  disaster  risk  through  P3DM  is  one  way  of  generating such numbers through the counting of pushpins and other symbols on the 3D map by both the members of local communities as well as scientists and local government officials.

Consider the following steps in conducting disaster risk assessment using the 3D map:

  1. Using  large  pieces  of  paper,  prepare  a  blank  disaster  risk assessment  table  (Table  12)  and  hang  it  on  the  wall.  The  table should be context specific.
  2. Divide the participants into groups, preferably according to the area / village where they live;
  3. Divide each group again into two sub-groups: one assigned to the3D map and the other to the disaster risk assessment table.
  4. Ask  the  participants  to  list  the  different  areas  /  villages  on  the leftmost column of the table.
  5. The different groups complete the table by identifying the hazards threatening  their  area  /  village  and  counting  the  pushpins  and other symbols of the legend (e.g. vulnerable houses, vulnerable people,  vehicles)  which  are  within  each  hazard-prone  areas (Figure 51).
  6. Identify the issues and problems faced by the local community  based on the hazards, vulnerabilities and capacities;
  7. Elaborate  the  reasons  /  root  causes  of  these  issues  and problems;
  8. They  eventually  assign  a  certain  level  of  risk  to  their  villageaccording to the hazard, vulnerabilities and capacities.

Both  the  map  and  table  provide  a  tangible  basis  for  assessing  disaster risk. It makes it quick and easy to assess, for example, how many people are vulnerable in each area of the village to particular hazards and what the resources in facing such hazards are. In other words, the disaster risk assessment table provides the participants with an overview summary of the risks being faced by the community (Figure 52).

Figure 51:  Assessment of disaster risk based on a 3D map built in La Carlota, Philippines (JC Gaillard,  January 2011)

Figure 51: Assessment of disaster risk based on a 3D map built in La Carlota, Philippines (JC Gaillard, January 2011)

Figure 52: Disaster risk assessment table compiling data extracted from a 3D map built in Josefina,  Philippines (JC Gaillard, January 2010)

Figure 52: Disaster risk assessment table compiling data extracted from a 3D map built in Josefina, Philippines (JC Gaillard, January 2010)

11.3 Combining P3DM with other tools

Obviously,  P3DM  must  be  combined  with  other  methods  and  tools  for appraising issues which are not covered in the 3D map but which are yet very important,  e.g.  client-patron  relationships,  gender-related  inequalities, social networks, and temporal variations in vulnerabilities and capacities. P3DM  must  therefore  be  associated  with  calendars,  ranking  and  scoring, problem trees, Venn diagrams, and other tools of vulnerability and capacity analysis (VCA). See for example von Kotze and Holloway (1996), Abarquez and Murshed (2004), International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (2008) and CARE (2009).

Table 12– An example of disaster risk assessment table

Table 12– An example of disaster risk assessment table

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