ADPC advocates that disaster risk cannot be effectively managed before the extent of risk and the spatial distribution are identified. Through sound scientific approaches and advanced technologies, ADPC quantifies disaster risk to achieve improved disaster risk reduction. Our work in this area focuses on conducting hazard vulnerability and risk assessments across the region. We have worked in this sector in several countries including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam.
As a multi-disciplinary undertaking, risk assessment involves physical scientists such as geologists, seismologists, hydrologists and meteorologists, as well as social scientists, civil engineers, structural engineers, urban planners, geographers, and economists. ADPC houses experts across these fields and maintains a close connection with experts from across the Asia-Pacific region.
The development of risk assessments is based on a series of 'what-if' disaster scenarios that suit the purpose of emergency and response planning. Additionally, risk assessments consider hypothetical development scenarios with the aim of improving future planning.
From national hazard-profiling to city-specific risk and loss estimations
ADPC conducts risk assessments at various geographical scales from national and sub-national hazard risk profiling to city- and community-specific estimation of the vulnerabilities, risks and losses.
In Lao PDR, ADPC developed provincial risk maps to be used in the planning of public investment projects. The information on the susceptibility to the impact of natural hazards given in the risk maps guided the local officials' decision-making in locating the projects. With the help of the maps they could also ensure that the disaster risk would not increase as a result of the development plans.
Aiming at improving urban land-use planning, ADPC developed a series of earthquake risk maps to be used as a base for the guidelines in Mandalay in Myanmar. Similarly in Mymensing in Bangladesh, seismic risk assessment outcomes have been used to develop guidelines on risk-sensitive urban land-use planning.
City-level risk assessments are also used in scenario-based contingency planning. ADPC works extensively in this area in the cities of Bogra, Chittagong, Dhaka, Dinajpur, Mymensing, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Sylhet and Tangail in Bangladesh.
Raising the awareness of natural hazard risk
ADPC's work in risk assessment extends beyond the urban landscape and coastal provinces with the aim to assist in the development of early warning systems and to identify areas that in particular are at risk of extreme weather events.
As in the case of Vietnam, ADPC's work in risk indices helped to indicate the at-risk coastal provinces and guided the development of the Coastal City Resiliency Program. Likewise in Sri Lanka, the results of a coastal risk assessment guided the development of early warning systems in Ampara, Batticaloa, and Trincomalee districts.