UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction


Qiushuang Shi

Community-based Cascading Risks Assessment

Typical examples of cascading disasters like the Tōhoku earthquake of 2011 and Hurricane Sandy show that there might exist special function paths between disturbances and coupled human-environmental system, through which the effects of the initial disaster event could be propagated or amplified. This particular type of function path, known as the cascading chain, is, in essence, the result of the interaction of different vulnerabilities. However, how do different vulnerabilities interact in a disaster scenario? What are the possible relationships? and what is the likelihood of a subsidiary disaster?

Given an expected triggering event, my research attempts to construct place-based disaster scenarios to evaluate potential cascading risks. This means instead of regarding the triggering event as a single disaster, this study is aimed to do a comprehensive analysis of the triggering event and its potential cause-effect patterns and consequences. By measuring inherent vulnerability and inherent resilience behind the triggering event and analysing the possible interaction paths of vulnerability factors, this study attempts to explore sensitive nodes that may generate secondary emergencies and further visualise the potential structure of the events.