A geospatial analysis of multi-hazard risk in Dharan, Nepal
Aksha, Sanam K.
Resler, Lynn M.
Carstensen, Laurence William Jr.
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Natural hazard risk assessment generally focuses on a single hazard type, such as earthquakes, landslides, or floods. This emphasis tends to consider physical processes in isolation. However, most locations are simultaneously at risk to multiple, interacting hazards that generate cascading effects or synergies. Although scholars have proposed a multi-hazard risk framework based on probabilities, the quality and quantity of data required for such an approach are often unavailable in developing countries. Using geospatial and socioeconomic data, this study represents a first step in assessing multi-hazard risk in the city of Dharan, Nepal. Three hazards-landslides, floods, and earthquakes-were considered for an integrated hazard assessment using statistical methods and the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP). We employed a Social Vulnerability Index (SoVI) to create a vulnerability map of the study area, which was then combined with a multi-hazard hazard map to produce a total risk map. Our results indicate that eastern Dharan along the Seuti River and southwestern Dharan on the left bank of the Sardu River are at high risk to multiple hazards. Central Dharan and the hills in the western portion of the city are categorized as low risk areas. Data limitations, such as availability and spatial resolution, did not allow for dynamic modeling; however, our results identified the spatial extent of low to high risk areas, which can inform future disaster planning. For example, the methodology and results of this study could assist in the development of disaster risk reduction programs and policies.