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Emerging Issues for Natech Disaster Risk Management in Europe

Ana Maria Cruz, Laura J. Steinberg and Ana Lisa Vetere-Arellano

Journal of Risk Research, 2006, vol. 9, issue 5, 483-501

Abstract: There is growing concern about the potential effects of natural disaster-triggered technological (natech) disasters. The chlorine releases in the Czech Republic following the floods that swept across Europe in the summer of 2002 and the multiple hazardous materials releases triggered by the Turkey earthquake of August 1999 were examples which showed the potential danger of a natech disaster occurring near populated areas. However, there is scarce information available on the actual risk of natech disasters and on what communities are doing to prevent or prepare for these types of events in Europe. This paper provides a careful look at how selected countries in Europe are currently addressing natech risk and describes recent natech incidences. Initiatives taken at the European Community (EC) level to address natech risk are also discussed. The paper includes the results of a workshop on natechs held at the Joint Research Center in Ispra, Italy in 2003. The workshop aimed to create awareness of the natech problem, and through guided exercises assess natech hazards and vulnerability to natechs in participating countries. The workshop sessions facilitated the identification of a set of five consensus key strategies for natech risk reduction including emergency planning specific to natechs, education and awareness campaigns, public participation in risk reduction planning, natech planning at industrial facilities, and the use of land use restrictions as a regulatory tool to limit the siting of industrial facilities. The paper concludes with recommendations by the authors, including suggested directions for further research to support natech risk reduction.

Date: 2006
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