Risk Atlas Georgia
Institutional Building for Natural Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in Georgia
ITC has carried out a project called “Institutional Building for Natural Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in Georgia” together with the Caucasian Environmental NGO Network (CENN). The project addressed nine different natural hazards and their overlap with eight elements at risk, such as population, buildings, and GDP. The project was financially supported by the Social Transformation Programme for Central and Eastern Europe (MATRA) of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Georgia is located in the Caucasus between Russia, Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. Due to its geographic location between the higher and lower Caucasian mountains, it is exposed to a number of different natural hazards. Within the project, a large number of people was trained in hazard and risk assessment, environmental impact assessment, web GIS, and participatory GIS. We also developed guidelines to include hazard and risk assessments in strategic environmental assessments and environmental impact assessment.
The flagship result was the national scale hazard and risk atlas of Georgia that was made together with national expert organizations. The main goal of the “Atlas of Natural Hazards and Disaster Risks” is to provide national and local governments, businesses and the local population with information about existing and potential natural hazards, risks and socioeconomic vulnerability. The atlas will also assist governmental institutions in the improvement of the disaster risk management and reduction policies currently in place, the development of a relevant strategy of effective planning, and in the efficient implementation of different development projects. Any interested person or organization will therefore have the opportunity to evaluate the risks and relevant challenges faced by the local communities of Georgia by utilizing the information contained in this Atlas. The maps included in the atlas have been developed on the bases of modern, international and national research and assessment methods.
The atlas is dealing with 10 types of hazards (earthquakes, flooding, landslides, mudflows, rockfall, snow avalanches, drought, wildfire, windstorm, hailstorm), and 8 types of elements-at-risk (population, buildings, GDP, roads, pipelines, forest, crops and protected areas). We generated databases of past hazard events, exposure maps, created physical, social, economic and environmental vulnerability maps, and risk maps for all combinations of hazard and assets. Three different levels of administrative units were used for aggregation of the exposure and risk results: regional, districts and community. We produced a paper atlas that gives a concise overview of the base data, and project output. Open the atlas.
In the field of disaster management internet based technologies are already widely used for the communication of risk information. Within this project a web-based risk atlas was developed as a risk communication tool. It allows the user to combine different types of information, and display this information in a variety of ways, for example: hazard maps of individual hazard types; information on elements at risk; exposure maps; vulnerability maps and maps of individual, specific risk types. The web-GIS contains the following components:
- Reporting of new hazard events by the public through a simple interface.
- Querying of past event database.
- Querying of hazard, exposure and risk maps, and obtain statistical information per administrative unit.
- Generate a full hazard, exposure and risk report for each administrative unit of the country, in three levels (regions, districts, and communities).
- Background information on geo-information for disaster risk management, and local case studies.
The official presentation of the risk atlas on April 20 was targeted at a high level audience of officials of different ministries, and international DRR practitioners. Cees van Westen and Ulan Turdukulov showed the project overview and the web-based risk atlas, respectively. They were followed by the Minister of Environment and other leading organizations in disaster risk reduction in Georgia. The minister complimented our team on the usefulness, conciseness, and clarity of the project results. Much interest was expressed by NGO’s, such as the Austrian Red Cross, and Action Against Hunger. They were directly able to use our results in their own projects. The Armenian government was also interested in applying similar methods in their own country. The local media extensively covered the event.