A model to integrate the management of hazards and disasters in the national sustainable development planning of the Maldives
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
The small land area of the islands of the Maldives, combined with high population density, makes the communities of these islands vulnerable to natural disaster events such as flooding and tsunami. The Indian Ocean Tsunami on 26 December 2004 impacted 69 islands of the Maldives, killing 82 people, leaving 26 people missing and 15, 000 people internally displaced, making it the worst disaster in recorded history. Following the event, the Government of the Maldives announced a Safer Island Development Programme which seeks to provide the infrastructure necessary to adapt to natural disasters. The key focus of disaster management is to reduce the vulnerability of the communities exposed to hazards and risks, and to help them to enhance their resilience. Efforts have been made to develop safer and sustainable communities in all corners of the developed and developing worlds. New Zealand Government announced its effort to build safe and secure communities in 2007 while at a local level the Christchurch City Council published the Safer Christchurch Strategy in 2005. Overseas, the Community Strategy 2000, outlines the vision of "A safe and strong Island" at Isle of Wight United Kingdom. The islands of the Maldives have natural characteristics which make them vulnerable to disasters such as tsunami. This research has been able to identify the relationship between these characteristics and the natural vulnerability of the islands using the data that was collected following the Indian Ocean Tsunami. Out of 11 island, that have been identified for the Safer Islands Development Programme, one island is found to have very high natural vulnerability and 5 islands a high natural vulnerability, from the island vulnerability index model developed through this study. The Island Vulnerability Index model could be used to enhance the present Safer Island Development Programme island selection criteria, to reduce the possibility of 'building risk' into the infrastructure development on the islands. The index could also be used in the Environmental Impact Assessment studies to address the issue of disasters, effective resources allocation in the Public Sector Infrastructure Programme for 'building back better', and resource identification in land use planning.