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The evaluation of public awareness and community preparedness parameter in GIS-based spatial tsunami human vulnerability assessment (MeTHuVA)

Catastrophic tsunami events in the past decades reveal the need to improve disaster risk reduction management systems. Although the actions born with this need began in the countries affected by the recent major events, mainly in Indonesia, after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and in Japan, after the 2011 Tohoku tsunami, it started to spread to other tsunami-prone coastal areas. The development of risk reduction strategies begins with determining the possible worst-case scenarios for the region and identifying affected areas according to those scenarios. Vulnerability and risk assessments based on worst-case scenarios are vital to identify most affected areas. However, none of these assessment methods can capture all aspects that impact risk and include them in the analysis. Therefore, the results of the risk assessments remain limited to the available datasets. In order to obviate neglected essential elements that have an impact on risk, a new parameter has been introduced in GIS-based tsunami human risk assessment method MeTHuVA (METU Metropolitan Tsunami Human Vulnerability Assessment). This new parameter, called the n value, represents the tsunami awareness and preparedness level of the community. This study probes the n value in order to define its constituents. The n value is composed of five main parameters (administrative, structural, educational, social, and economic preparedness) and 24 sub-components. It is revealed that all elements of the n value are in a very complex and interrelated relationship with each other. Every sub-component is initially grouped into one main parameter, but impacts other elements as well. While the majority of the sub-components have the nature of enhancing the power of overall n value, there are also elements that have a negative impact. The impact of n value on tsunami risk, challenges of measuring its elements due to complicated and partly intangible nature, its benefits to make multinational evaluations, and multi-temporal monitoring are investigated and discussed.