Hazard, Vulnerability, Capacity and Risk Assessment (HVCRA) is a critical, scientific process that serves as the foundation for every component of the Disaster Risk Management (DRM) planning and programming. However, practical guidance on undertaking HVCRA in projects and activities planning is lacking. Thus, our technical experts support partner cities by guiding DRM practitioners in understanding the methodologies, processes, and outputs of a city-level HVCRA in the context of Urban Resilience Master Planning.
We conduct HVCRA to provide the parameters that can guide policymakers and DRM professionals in developing strategies and operational plans to mitigate and prepare for disaster risks. This entails the use of geographic information system (GIS) to produce baseline data and information – hazards, vulnerability and capacity – for risk analysis. Running several scenarios and understanding the impact in terms of losses (physical, social, environmental, and institutional) could provide the planning elements to develop the strategies and the action plans aimed at reducing future losses.
The results of our assessment give a clear picture of city risk profiles and provide insights on the development systems and processes into which risk management can be incorporated.
HVCRA supports the integration of DRM in the key functions that public and private institutions undertake such as (1) emergency management, (2) land use and urban development planning, construction and building licensing, (3) environmental management, (4) social welfare, and (5) other services that they provide and regulate. The outcomes encourage DRM professionals and stakeholders to incorporate science in their DRM and development plans. Below are such examples:
- HVCRA identifies earthquake and flood risk hotspots to guide long-term development and land use plans. It also recommends specific DRM programs, projects and activities in implementing development plans.
- HVCRA provides evidence for strict enforcement of building code and construction regulations, flood management systems, and critical facilities and lifelines, as in the case of Quezon and Pasig City in the Philippines.
- HVCRA leads to more appropriate emergency and contingency plans as a result of simulations that demonstrate possible worst case scenarios.
- HVCRA encourages local authorities to enhance their institutional and technical capacity to prepare for earthquakes and other risks, and sustain their efforts in DRM.
- HVCRA creates more informed decisions that raise awareness on city risks and enable decision makers to communicate these risks effectively.
- HVCRA provides clear evidence to increase DRM investments in human resources, physical and digital infrastructure, equipment, and further studies.
Key stakeholders will have a deeper understanding of risk information and its implication in their jurisdiction. Undertaking scientifically-based risk assessment studies is a rational investment by local authorities.