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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 15, issue 10 | Copyright
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 15, 2173-2182, 2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 01 Oct 2015

Research article | 01 Oct 2015

An interdisciplinary perspective on social and physical determinants of seismic risk

K.-H. E. Lin1,2, Y.-C. Chang3, G.-Y. Liu4, C.-H. Chan5, T.-H. Lin6, and C.-H. Yeh4 K.-H. E. Lin et al.
  • 1George Perkins Marsh Institute, Clark University, 950 Main Street, Worcester, MA 01610, USA
  • 2Research Center for Environmental Changes, Academia Sinica, 128 Academia Road, Sec. 2, Taipei 115, Taiwan
  • 3Department of Sociology, National Taiwan University,1 Roosevelt Road, Sec. 4, Taipei 106, Taiwan
  • 4National Center for Research on Earthquake Engineering, 200 Xinhai Road, Sec. 3, Taipei 106, Taiwan
  • 5Earth Observatory of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University N2-01A-14, 50 Nanyang Avenue, 639798, Singapore
  • 6Institute of Sociology, Academia Sinica, 128 Academia Road, Sec. 2, Taipei 115, Taiwan

Abstract. While disaster studies researchers usually view risk as a function of hazard, exposure, and vulnerability, few studies have systematically examined the relationships among the various physical and socioeconomic determinants underlying disasters, and fewer have done so through seismic risk analysis. In the context of the 1999 Chi-Chi earthquake in Taiwan, this study constructs three statistical models to test different determinants that affect disaster fatality at the village level, including seismic hazard, exposure of population and fragile buildings, and demographic and socioeconomic vulnerability. The Poisson regression model is used to estimate the impact of these factors on fatalities. Research results indicate that although all of the determinants have an impact on seismic fatality, some indicators of vulnerability, such as gender ratio, percentages of young and aged population, income and its standard deviation, are the important determinants deteriorating seismic risk. These findings have strong social implications for policy interventions to mitigate such disasters.

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Short summary
This study views seismic risk as a function of seismic hazard, population-building exposure, and demographic-socioeconomic vulnerability. Three statistical models are built to test determinants affecting disaster fatality at village scale; Poisson Regression is used to test the models in the case of 1999 Chi-Chi earthquake in Taiwan. Research finding proves that seismic behavior and intensity, building fragility, vulnerable demographics and social inequality are imperative factors in the risk.
This study views seismic risk as a function of seismic hazard, population-building exposure, and...