Articles | Volume 17, issue 5
Research article
19 May 2017
Research article |  | 19 May 2017

Risk factors and perceived restoration in a town destroyed by the 2010 Chile tsunami

Carolina Martínez, Octavio Rojas, Paula Villagra, Rafael Aránguiz, and Katia Sáez-Carrillo

Abstract. A large earthquake and tsunami took place in February 2010, affecting a significant part of the Chilean coast (Maule earthquake, Mw of 8.8). Dichato (37° S), a small town located on Coliumo Bay, was one of the most devastated coastal areas and is currently under reconstruction. Therefore, the objective of this research is to analyze the risk factors that explain the disaster in 2010, as well as perceived restoration 6 years after the event. Numerical modeling of the 2010 Chile tsunami with four nested grids was applied to estimate the hazard. Physical, socioeconomic and educational dimensions of vulnerability were analyzed for pre- and post-disaster conditions. A perceived restoration study was performed to assess the effects of reconstruction on the community. It was focused on exploring the capacity of newly reconstructed neighborhoods to provide restorative experiences in case of disaster. The study was undertaken using the perceived restorativeness scale.

The vulnerability variables that best explained the extent of the disaster were housing conditions, low household incomes and limited knowledge about tsunami events, which conditioned inadequate reactions to the emergency. These variables still constitute the same risks as a result of the reconstruction process, establishing that the occurrence of a similar event would result in a similar degree of devastation. For post-earthquake conditions, it was determined that all neighborhoods have the potential to be restorative environments soon after a tsunami. However, some neighborhoods are still located in areas devastated by the 2010 tsunami and again present high vulnerability to future tsunamis.

Short summary
On 27 February 2010, a devastating tsunami Mw 8.8 was generated off the coast of Chile, causing the death of more than 500 people. In Dichato (37° S), we analyzed new risk areas derived from the process of reconstruction, and we compared it with risk analysis prior to the event. Six years after the event, we determined that the new risk configuration is similar to what existed previously. The process of reconstruction has not been undertaken effectively to reduce the risk levels in the area.
Final-revised paper