4.3 Hazard, Exposure, Vulnerability and Resilience

4.3.1 Hazard

A hazard can be defined as a dangerous phenomenon, substance, human activity or condition that may cause loss of life, injury or other health impacts, property damage, loss of livelihoods and services, social and economic disruption, or environmental damage.

The hazards of concern to disaster risk reduction are of natural origin and related environmental and technological hazards and risks. Such hazards arise from a variety of geological, meteorological, hydrological, oceanic, biological, and technological sources, sometimes acting in combination. In technical settings, hazards are described quantitatively by the likely frequency of occurrence of different intensities for different areas, as determined from historical data or scientific analysis.

This MEMP, informed by the Community Emergency Risk Assessment, includes identified hazards which would lead to sources of risks in the Colac Otway Shire. Risk statements are generated to establish a credible relationship between a source of risk and an element of risk. An overview of this information is provided in Appendix 9 Community Emergency Risk Assessment- and detailed information is included in the CERA document held by the MEMPC Executive Officer.

4.3.2 Exposure

Exposure refers to people, property, systems, or other elements present in hazard zones that are thereby subject to potential losses.

While the literature and common usage often mistakenly combine exposure and vulnerability, they are distinct. Exposure is a necessary, but not sufficient, determinant of risk. It is possible to be exposed but not vulnerable (for example by living in a floodplain but having sufficient means to modify building structure and behaviour to mitigate potential loss). However, to be vulnerable to an extreme event, it is necessary to also be exposed.

4.3.3 Vulnerability

Vulnerability refers to the characteristics and circumstances of a community, system or asset that make it susceptible to the damaging effects of a hazard.

There are many aspects of vulnerability, arising from various physical, social, economic, and environmental factors. Examples may include poor design and construction of buildings, inadequate protection of assets, lack of public information and awareness, limited official recognition of risks and preparedness measures, and disregard for wise environmental management. Vulnerability varies significantly within a community and over time.

4. 3.4 Resilience

Resilience can be defined as the ability of a system, community or society exposed to hazards to resist, absorb, accommodate to and recover from the effects of a hazard in a timely and efficient manner, including through the preservation and restoration of its essential basic structures and functions

4.2 Community Emergency Risk Assessment

4.4 Prevention