Alpine Hazards

Alpine Hazards

Understanding Community Resilience to Alpine hazards. The role of risk perception and community networks in preparing for and responding to landslides: findings from the Dolomite case study

In the Alps, natural hazards are part of everyday life and tied into local history and culture. Communities live with permanent risk and have to cope frequently with the impact of small and sometimes major events. Compared to other areas of Europe that are, for example, at risk of large river floods or earthquakes, alpine regions face a greater variety of natural hazards. Historical documents prove a long history of damaging events and accordingly a degree of indigenous knowledge in the local population as to how to deal with these events. Paying tribute to the fact that they are permanently exposed to hazardous events, the alpine populations have always tried to find and choose relatively safe areas for their settlements. However, in recent times, the demand for favourable and easily accessible areas in the valleys has grown significantly, due to the intensification of activities in tourism, industry and settlement extension. This fact has led to a significant accumulation of assets in hazard prone areas and has increased the risk of losses, entirely independent from the frequency or magnitude of the hazardous events themselves. Accordingly, the issues surrounding how to prepare for, cope with and recover from these events are presenting key challenges for society, particularly in mountain terrain.

Knowledge of past events, history of the territory, trust, risk perception and community networks were revealed by this research as key aspects of community resilience. Accordingly, gaining better understanding of these historical and social factors needs to be a priority for people actively involved in local risk management, in order to contribute to improving existing risk management practices.

Being aware of living in a landslide prone area is not sufficient impetus for being prepared. Past or recent personal hazard experience and active involvement in response and recovery activities leads to a greater perception of risk and increased preparedness.



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The emBRACE Consortium 2015. EU Project emBRACE: Briefing Note 4. Understanding Community Resilience to Alpine hazards. The role of risk perception and community networks in preparing for and responding to landslides: findings from the Dolomite case study