Hazardous hydrological phenomena and social vulnerability in Russia
Risk assessment is one of the most pressing scientific topics in Russia, but most of the works are devoted to natural hazards assessment. The purpose of the report is to estimate the influence of hazardous hydrological phenomena on society.
Оn the first stage, methods and results of social vulnerability and risk assessment are presented in the article. It is explored if modified methodology of the United Nations University (World risk index) can be used on different scale levels: regional, municipal and settlement. It was estimated that, despite the low value of the World risk index for Russia, southern coastal and mountain regions have high values of the risk index for hydrological phenomena because of higher frequency of the hazardous events, higher population density, and high social vulnerability. The Krasnodar region (in the south-western part of Russia) was chosen for a detailed analysis. A municipal risk index was developed, and municipal districts in the Kuban river mouth were identified as territories with the highest risk.
For verification of the index results, the percentage of vulnerable people was estimated based on opinion pollson the second stage. The field research was conducted in the Slavyansk municipal district in the Krasnodar region (the south-western part of Russia), which is a highly populated coastal territory with a high frequency of hazardous hydrological events.
Modified methods of the Ministry of the Russian Federation for Affairs for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters (EMERCOM) were used for potential economic damage calculation. The paper did not only focus on direct, tangible risks, but also included social risk (i.e. risk to life and health). Social vulnerability has been calculated directly as a percentage of vulnerable people, estimated in opinion polls, while in many recent papers the social vulnerability index was calculated as a combination of several statistical indicators. The resulting percentage of vulnerable people was converted to numbers of potential victims. Finally the social risk was expressed by financial indicators in terms of the cost of the value of statistical life lost.
The main result of the work is that social risk can be underestimated in comparison with economic risk because of a low “value of life” in Russia (no life insurance, neglecting of basic safety rules, etc.).