Review Article: A comparison of flood and earthquake vulnerability assessment indicators

Marleen C. de Ruiter*, Philip J. Ward, James E. Daniell, Jeroen C. J. H. Aerts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In a cross-disciplinary study, we carried out an extensive literature review to increase understanding of vulnerability indicators used in the disciplines of earthquake- and flood vulnerability assessments. We provide insights into potential improvements in both fields by identifying and comparing quantitative vulnerability indicators grouped into physical and social categories. Next, a selection of index- and curve-based vulnerability models that use these indicators are described, comparing several characteristics such as temporal and spatial aspects. Earthquake vulnerability methods traditionally have a strong focus on object-based physical attributes used in vulnerability curve-based models, while flood vulnerability studies focus more on indicators applied to aggregated land-use classes in curve-based models. In assessing the differences and similarities between indicators used in earthquake and flood vulnerability models, we only include models that separately assess either of the two hazard types. Flood vulnerability studies could be improved using approaches from earthquake studies, such as developing object-based physical vulnerability curve assessments and incorporating time-of-the-day-based building occupation patterns. Likewise, earthquake assessments could learn from flood studies by refining their selection of social vulnerability indicators. Based on the lessons obtained in this study, we recommend future studies for exploring risk assessment methodologies across different hazard types.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)1231-1251
Number of pages21
JournalNatural Hazards and Earth System Sciences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017

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