Building vulnerability to hydro-geomorphic hazards: Estimating damage probability from qualitative vulnerability assessment using logistic regression

Susanne Ettinger*, Loïc Mounaud, Christina Magill, Anne Françoise Yao-Lafourcade, Jean Claude Thouret, Vern Manville, Caterina Negulescu, Giulio Zuccaro, Daniela De Gregorio, Stefano Nardone, Juan Alexis Luque Uchuchoque, Anita Arguedas, Luisa Macedo, Nélida Manrique Llerena

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


The focus of this study is an analysis of building vulnerability through investigating impacts from the 8 February 2013 flash flood event along the Avenida Venezuela channel in the city of Arequipa, Peru. On this day, 124.5 mm of rain fell within 3 h (monthly mean: 29.3 mm) triggering a flash flood that inundated at least 0.4 km2 of urban settlements along the channel, affecting more than 280 buildings, 23 of a total of 53 bridges (pedestrian, vehicle and railway), and leading to the partial collapse of sections of the main road, paralyzing central parts of the city for more than one week. This study assesses the aspects of building design and site specific environmental characteristics that render a building vulnerable by considering the example of a flash flood event in February 2013. A statistical methodology is developed that enables estimation of damage probability for buildings. The applied method uses observed inundation height as a hazard proxy in areas where more detailed hydrodynamic modeling data is not available. Building design and site-specific environmental conditions determine the physical vulnerability. The mathematical approach considers both physical vulnerability and hazard related parameters and helps to reduce uncertainty in the determination of descriptive parameters, parameter interdependency and respective contributions to damage. This study aims to (1) enable the estimation of damage probability for a certain hazard intensity, and (2) obtain data to visualize variations in damage susceptibility for buildings in flood prone areas. Data collection is based on a post-flood event field survey and the analysis of high (sub-metric) spatial resolution images (Pléiades 2012, 2013). An inventory of 30 city blocks was collated in a GIS database in order to estimate the physical vulnerability of buildings. As many as 1103 buildings were surveyed along the affected drainage and 898 buildings were included in the statistical analysis. Univariate and bivariate analyses were applied to better characterize each vulnerability parameter. Multiple corresponding analyses revealed strong relationships between the “Distance to channel or bridges”, “Structural building type”, “Building footprint” and the observed damage. Logistic regression enabled quantification of the contribution of each explanatory parameter to potential damage, and determination of the significant parameters that express the damage susceptibility of a building. The model was applied 200 times on different calibration and validation data sets in order to examine performance. Results show that 90% of these tests have a success rate of more than 67%. Probabilities (at building scale) of experiencing different damage levels during a future event similar to the 8 February 2013 flash flood are the major outcomes of this study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-581
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


  • flash flood
  • vulnerability
  • logistic regression
  • damage probability
  • risk
  • Arequipa


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