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Modelling Multi-Hazard and Risk

Online course Modelling Multi-Hazards & Risk

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Learn how to conduct a quantitative multi-hazard risk assessment, how risk components can be obtained, and how risk information can be used in risk reduction planning.

Are you working in disaster risk management and do you want to further strengthen your expertise and knowledge about the assessment of dynamic risk by multiple hazards? In this online course, we will focus on approaches to evaluate how multi-hazard risk might change over time.

Multi-Hazard Risk Assessment involves the quantitative spatial modelling of potential losses due to multiple and interacting natural hazards. This includes attention for multiple event probabilities, multiple types of elements-at-risks, and multiple potential loss components.  

The assessment of changing risk is relevant because of its relation with ongoing changes in climate, land use, population, or socio-economic conditions. But the analysis of changes in risk is also relevant in a short time frame, for example as a basis for Early Warning and Impact-Based Forecasting (IBF), and also to analyse the consequences of hazard interactions after major hazard events.

For whom?

This online course enables you to study part-time (taught two days a week for a period of 10 weeks) and at your own place. It is targeted at professional workers and researchers who focus on hazard modelling, risk reduction planning, or other aspects of disaster risk management. Familiarity with GIS and spatial analysis is required.

This course is also taught as an elective course for ITC’s Master's students. As an online course participant, you will have an opportunity to work on group assignments with other students. This provides an interesting opportunity to exchange ideas with students from different parts of the world.


The course will focus on quantitative multi-hazard modelling, and how this is used in analysing multi-hazard risk. This also includes attention to the obtaining of relevant geospatial information about natural hazards, elements-at-risk and vulnerability - i.e. the risk components - and how risk information can be used in risk reduction planning. The course is subdivided into the following two course components.

Modelling Multi-Hazards

  • The various types of hazard interactions are discussed (for example, the interactions between flash flooding, landslides, debris flows, that occur in mountainous areas during extreme rainfall).
  • An overview is given of the tools available for multi-hazard assessment, with special attention for so called integrated physically-based models for the analysis of multi-hazard interactions.
  • One of such models, OpenLISEM Hazard is treated in detail. It includes options to model interactions between rainfall runoff processes, slope stability, slope failure, sediment and water mixture, entrainment and deposits. Catchment-scale hydrology directly causes flooding, and influences slope stability, failure and runout.  Input data related to topography, soils, vegetation and land use are provided as raster data. Rainfall data is given per time step for specific rainstorm events.
  • You will develop hands-on experience in using the OpenLISEM Hazard model, and the spatial data it requires.  The OpenLISEM tool can be used for both forecasting and assessing the hazard and risk of multi-hazards related to hydro-meteorological extremes.
  • The OpenLISEM Hazard model is used in a project assignment to model multi-hazards for a particular case, and to re-model the hazard for selected risk reduction alternatives.

Analyzing Multi-Hazard Risk

  • The main focus of the second half of the course is on the quantitative analysis of risk, and how information on changing risk is used in decision making for disaster risk reduction. These changes may be related both to changes in hazard-triggering or conditional factors, the increasing exposure of elements-at-risk, and their changing vulnerability and capacity.
  • The different analysis methods are demonstrated using a tutorial dataset, and the risk assessment is carried out using GIS software tools. 
  • You will analyse economic and population risk, and evaluate the risk level. Various risk reduction alternatives are defined, and updated hazard maps, assets information and vulnerability information reflecting the consequences of these alternatives are used to re-analyse the risk. Cost benefit analysis is carried out to define which alternative is best, and reviewed in a stakeholder workshop.
  • Several possible future scenarios in terms of climate change, land use change and population change are considered, and risk is calculated for various future years. Optimal combinations of alternatives & scenarios will be designed.

You will also learn how the methods can be integrated within a Spatial Decision Support System (SDSS) context for analysing risk dynamics.

What will be achieved? 

During this course you will learn to:

  • Specify the geospatial data requirements for hazard and risk assessment and evaluate how these might change over time.
  • Carry out physically-based hazard modelling, including the generation of an input dataset, data calibration and validation of modelling results.
  • Analyse changes in hazard interactions using a physically-based model.
  • Carry out a quantitative, spatial multi-hazard risk assessment.
  • Analyse how different planning alternatives can alter the hazard, exposure and risk; and identify which alternatives are optimal from a stakeholder perspective.
  • Analyse how hazard and risk may change over time, for example, due to changes in climate, land use, population, and/or socio-economic conditions.

Why choose this course? 

The online training in this course includes activities such as: recorded lectures, self-study of the learning material, practical sessions with instructor support, a simulated stakeholder workshop, and two project assignments. The lecture videos, together with written course material, introduce the theoretical background of the different topics. You will apply the knowledge gained in a series of practicals. In the project assignments, you are given a (multi-hazard, changing risk) problem to be analysed using the obtained knowledge and modelling skills.

Combining courses

Apart from the focus on hazard and risk modelling, you may also be interested in other aspects of disaster risk management. Or maybe you have just started developing an interest in disaster risk reduction and the use of geospatial data. In that case, we suggest you also have a look at this other online course, that we offer in spring: Multi-Hazard Risk Assessment.

About your diploma

Upon successful completion of this course, you will receive a Certificate which will include the name of the course.

Admission requirements

Academic level and background
Participants to this online course should have a BSc-level degree or equivalent from a recognized university, in a discipline related to the course, and preferably combined with relevant working experience.

To successfully participate in the course, working experience in using GIS and geospatial data is required.

English language 
The language of instruction of this course is English

Prior to course registration you have to check with the course coordinator whether your command of English is adequate to successfully participate in this course.

During the registration, you would still be required to provide proof of meeting the English language requirements (example: a message/email/letter confirmation from the course coordinator).

Computer skills
To follow online education you must have basic computer experience, regular access to internet, and e-mail. For some courses, additional computer skills are required (see description of specific course).

Technical requirements online education and assessment

For online education, we formulated guidelines to guarantee optimal performance. For online oral exams and proctoring during online assessments, the webcam and headset requirements need to be met.

More information

Do you have questions about the online course Modelling Multi-Hazards and Risk? You can contact Professor Cees van Westen, course coordinator.

Key information

CROHO code
10 weeks
100% English taught
Application deadline
16 August 2021
non EU/EEA
16 August 2021
16 August 2021
Starting date
6 September 2021
End date
12 November 2021
Enschede, Netherlands
Tuition fees
Full period 2021 / 2022
part-time, institutional
€ 900