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Island Vulnerability

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Island Vulnerability explores the challenges which isolated geographies face when dealing with risk and disasters by examining the processes which create, maintain, and could be used to reduce their vulnerability. This page provides information on Greece's islands.

  • Carrett, B. 2006. Geophysical Hazards and Hazard Awareness on Nisyros Volcano, Greece. MSc dissertation from Geophysical Hazards at University College London, London, U.K., download the full text (1,125 kB in PDF).

    The Kos-Yali-Nisyros volcanic field, as well as the island volcano of Nisyros lie in an area of intense tectonic activity. In the past 160 thousand years the island has witnessed many volcanic eruptions of different types and magnitudes presenting varying degrees of hazard. Several types of hazard are possible on Nisyros: seismic activity from regional tectonics, seismic activity associated with magmatic and hydrothermal unrest, hydrothermal eruptions, volcanic eruptions, landslides, and tsunami. In 1995, the volcano gave signs of renewing activity in the form of intense seismicity, ground deformation and significant variations in the chemical and temperature parameters of fumaroles, however volcanic activity did not result.

    The data attained on Nisyros show that the local population have little hazard awareness regarding the range of hazards that potentially affect the island. Sixty-six percent of locals interviewed were unsure regarding the most recent volcanic activity on the island, which manifested as hydrothermal eruptions in the late half on the nineteenth century. Fifteen percent of locals are aware that no civil protection plans currently exist for the island, along with a further 48% who are unsure.

    The Mayor of the island confirmed that no plans are in place regarding any magnitude of volcanic eruption, and commented that the current, general disaster management plan, Xenokratis, has not been revised to consider the hazards affecting Nisyros. Both residents and tourists are at a high risk from the hazards affecting the island and from a future eruption of the Nisyros volcano.

  • Nisyros, Greece.

    Nisyros, Greece.
    (Copyright Ben Carrett 2006)

  • Karababa, F. 2007. Local Seismic Construction Practices as a Means to Vulnerability Reduction and Sustainable Development. PhD dissertation from the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, U.K., download the full text of part 1 (5,316 kB in PDF) and full text of part 2 (7,006 kB in PDF).

    The study and conservation of local seismic construction practices, as a valuable source for technical, has been recently recognised. However, a conceptual gap is identified in addressing their conservation in the wider context of vulnerability reduction and sustainable development, compromising the potential for success of supportive policies.

    By conceptualising local seismic construction practices as capital, this thesis proposes a theoretical framework within which its conservation can be envisioned as a means to reducing vulnerability and moving towards more sustainable development. Adopting a mixed-method research strategy and a case-study research design, the application of the conceptual framework is demonstrated in the case of Lefkada Island in Greece. Each of the four key constructs (local seismic construction practices, physical vulnerability, social vulnerability, perceptions of local seismic construction practices) that constitute the framework are analytically examined with methods developed and illustrated where necessary. Inter-relationships between the key constructs are hypothesised and corroborated through the integrated interpretation of the findings emerging from the study of the individual constructs

    In particular, measures of social vulnerability are developed which are used to discern different levels of social vulnerability on the island. The influence of social vulnerability on perceptions of the local population pertaining to conservation of local seismic construction practices is subsequently demonstrated. The physical vulnerability of the buildings is assessed through damage data of the August 14, 2003 earthquake, and vulnerability curves are developed for the building typologies found in Lefkada. A hypothetical loss scenario is examined that demonstrates, through comparative means, the importance of local seismic construction practices in reducing physical vulnerability, and subsequently expected losses. The high correlation between spatial patterns of social and physical vulnerability is also demonstrated with the aid of a GIS, and through superposition of the two, the need for an integrated approach to vulnerability in identifying regions of critical concern is advocated. Finally, discussion of the contribution of conserving local seismic construction practices in Lefkada, as a means to reducing vulnerability and moving towards more sustainable development, as well as suggestions of how this can be achieved, are provided.

  • See also Karababa, F. 2008. "Local Seismic Construction Practices as a Means to Vulnerability Reduction And Sustainable Development". Presentation at the 14th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, Beijing, China, 12-17 October 2008, full text (289 kB in PDF).

    A house on Lefkada, Greece.

    A house on Lefkada, Greece.
    (Copyright Faye Karababa 2005)

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