Vulnerability to Heat Waves, Floods and Landslides in Mountainous Terrain: Test Cases in South Tyrol
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SubjectLandslides; floods; focus groups; heat waves; stakeholders; uncertainty; vulnerability curves
South Tyrol is a region that has been often affected by various mountain hazards such as floods, flash floods, debris flows, rock falls, and snow avalanches. Furthermore, areas located in lower altitudes are often influenced by high temperatures and heat waves. Climate change is expected to influence the frequency, magnitude, and spatial extent of these natural phenomena. For this reason, local authorities and other stakeholders are in need of tools that can enable them to reduce the risk posed by these processes. In the present study, a variety of methods are applied at local level in different places in South Tyrol that aim at: (1) the assessment of future losses caused by the occurrence of debris flows by using a vulnerability curve, (2) the assessment of social vulnerability based on the risk awareness of the exposed people to floods, and (3) the assessment of spatial exposure and social vulnerability of the exposed population to heat waves. The results show that, in South Tyrol, the risk to a number of hazards can be reduced by: (1) improving documentation for past events in order to improve existing vulnerability curves and the assessment of future losses, (2) raising citizens' awareness and responsibility to improve coping capacity to floods, and (3) extending heat wave early warning systems to more low-lying areas of South Tyrol.
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