Articles | Volume 7, issue 6
05 Dec 2007
05 Dec 2007

Elements at risk as a framework for assessing the vulnerability of communities to landslides

M. Papathoma-Köhle, B. Neuhäuser, K. Ratzinger, H. Wenzel, and D. Dominey-Howes

Abstract. The assessment of the vulnerability of communities prone to landslide related disasters is a topic that is growing in importance. Few studies discuss this issue and limited research has been carried out on the relationship between types of landslide and their potential impact on buildings and infrastructure. We outline a framework to undertake an assessment of the vulnerability of buildings to landslide utilising a similar framework used for assessing the vulnerability of buildings to tsunami damage. The framework is based on the development of an "elements at risk database" that takes into consideration the characteristics and use of the buildings, their importance for the local economy and the characteristics of the inhabitants (population density, age and so forth). The attributes that affect vulnerability are imported and examined within a GIS database which is used to visualise the physical, human and economic vulnerability. The results may have important implications for disaster management and emergency planning, and the database can be used by various end-users and stakeholders such as insurance companies, local authorities and the emergency services. The approach presented here can be integrated in to a wider more detailed "Framework for Landslide Risk and Vulnerability Assessment for Communities". We illustrate the potential of this framework and present preliminary results from Lichtenstein, Baden Württemberg, Germany.