Spatial Distribution of Disasters Caused by Natural Hazards in the Samala River Catchment, Guatemala
2015 (English)In: Geografiska Annaler. Series A, Physical Geography, ISSN 0435-3676, E-ISSN 1468-0459, Vol. 97, no 1, 181-196 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Understanding the conditions of the locations where disasters are reported and applying that knowledge to disaster risk reduction actions is essential and especially needed on the local scale. This study assessed how important the physical configuration is as cause of disasters by studying the links between the locations where disasters have been reported and the physical attributes of those locations. The Samala River catchment in Guatemala was used as a case study because it is a relatively small but complex area exposed to multiple natural hazards. Disasters of hydro-meteorological origin were addressed for the study because they are the most frequent type of disasters reported in the area. The method proposed in this work classified the study area into geomorphological units that were used to analyze where disasters were reported, the physical conditions of the particular locations of disaster reports, and to what degree disasters are spatially linked to slope and temporally to precipitation. We found that analyzing the study area based on the geomorphological configuration was useful and allowed analyses on comparatively homogeneous zones and to hypothesize on the particular geomorphological processes related to the occurrences of disasters. For steep geomorphological units we found a clear spatial relationship between the number of disasters reported and the slope of the locations, with higher frequency of disasters in the less sloping areas of the unit. The need to consider social factors for understanding this relationship was emphasized. As expected there was a very strong temporal relationship between disaster occurrence and wetness, as estimated from the antecedent rainfall, with high risk for disaster at high wetness. The applied methodological approach provides a tool for disaster research on physically complex areas, which is common to active tectonic and volcanic regions.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 97, no 1, 181-196 p.
spatial distribution, natural disasters, physical causes of natural disasters, Guatemala
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-251500DOI: 10.1111/geoa.12097ISI: 000350500400012OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-251500DiVA: diva2:807274