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Earthquake Risk Perception in Bucharest, Romania

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The Municipality of Bucharest is one of the capitals with the highest seismic risk in the world. Bucharest is particularly vulnerable to seismic hazard due to: the high density of inhabitants, especially within the residential districts with blocks of flats; the old public utility fund; the out-of-date infrastructure; the numerous industrial parks that are undergoing a restructuring process, not to mention the inefficient organization of civil protection and poor education of the population regarding seismic risk. This research was designed to examine the attitudes and perceptions of people living with the risk of an earthquake hazard in Bucharest. We were interested in how attitudes and perceptions differ depending on gender, age, education, residential area and socioeconomic status, characteristics of seismic hazard, degree of risk exposure, degree of danger, and casualty awareness. At the same time, we compare the results of this study with those from a previous and similar enquiry in 1997. The statistical processing has indicated a significant difference between the declared perception of seismic risk and the independent variables of gender, age, level of education, level of attachment to the residential area, and degree to which the subjects consider they may be affected and could retrieve their losses. Due to the continuous decrease of their living standard, the most vulnerable is the aged population. The feelings toward the residential area is another factor of statistical significance for the population's seismic danger perception. A strong affective bond offers a feeling of safety and leads to the neglect and even total denial of the hazard. In the case of independent variables regarding the type of dwelling, its age, and property form, deviations of empiric values from the theoretical distribution are not relevant for the correlation searched for, which indicates that this issue goes beyond the above-mentioned criteria.
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Keywords: Bucharest; disaster vulnerability; earthquake hazard; risk perceptions

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-10-01

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