Environmental Health & Safety


Mitigation efforts attempt to prevent hazards from developing into disasters altogether, or to reduce the effects of disasters when they occur. The mitigation phase differs from the other phases because it focuses on long-term measures for reducing or eliminating risk. The implementation of mitigation strategies can be considered a part of the recovery process if applied after a disaster occurs. However, even if applied as part of recovery efforts, actions that reduce or eliminate risk over time are still considered mitigation efforts.

Mitigative measures can be structural or non-structural. Structural measures use technological solutions, like flood levees. Non-structural measures include legislation, land-use planning (e.g. the designation of nonessential land like parks to be used as flood zones), and insurance. Mitigation is the most cost-efficient method for reducing the impact of hazards. However, mitigation is not always suitable and structural mitigation in particular may have adverse effects on the ecosystem.

A precursor activity to the mitigation is the identification of risks. Physical risk assessment refers to the process of identifying and evaluating hazards.[1] In risk assessment, various hazards (e.g. earthquakes, floods, riots) within a certain area are identified. Each hazard poses a risk to the population within the area assessed. The hazard-specific risk (Rh) combines both the probability and the level of impact of a specific hazard. The equation below gives that the hazard times the populations’ vulnerability to that hazard produce a risk. Catastrophe modeling tools are used to support the calculation. The higher the risk, the more urgent that the hazard specific vulnerabilities are targeted by mitigation and preparedness efforts. However, if there is no vulnerability there will be no risk, e.g. an earthquake occurring in a desert where nobody lives.

Risk   =   Hazard   X   Vulnerability

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Environmental Health & Safety

Environmental Health & Safety
Environmental Health & Safety

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