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Risk and vulnerability assessment

Assessing the impact of SDS considers the risks posed by SDS event to humans and society and how these risks arise from a combination of hazard events (i.e., occurrence of different types of SDS) and vulnerabilities. More background information is available in SDS Compendium, chapters 3 ("Sand and dust storms from a disaster management perspective") and 4 ("Assessing the risks posed by sand and dust storms").

    Community-level risk assessment

    A community-level risk assessment is often done in the form of a survey, which collects information of SDS occurrence and impacts from people in communities affected by SDS. This type of survey is useful for identifying specific impacts of SDS, assessing the extent to which these impacts occur (e.g., frequency, location), identifying local coping and adaptation methods, and establishing a baseline for SDS risk reduction activities.

    More guidance on doing a community-level risk assessment can be found in the SDS Compendium, chapters 5.1 to 5.5 , while sample surveys are available here.

    Expert-based risk assessment

    An expert-based risk assessment collects the professional understanding of the impacts of SDS events from experts (e.g., health, meteorology, soil conservation, disaster management, etc.) and can be used as input into policy development and program-level planning.

    More guidance on doing expert-based risk assessments can be found in the SDS Compendium, chapters 5.1 to 5.4 and 5.6.

    GIS-based vulnerability or risk assessment

    A Geographic Information System (GIS)  can bring together a wide range of location-based (spatial) quantitative data with a process for weighting and ranking the data to identify vulnerability to SDS events and resulting risks. GIS-based assessments are particularly useful for assessing impacts across large areas and where good data is available. 

    More guidance on doing GIS-based vulnerability assessments can be found in the SDS Compendium, chapter 7

    An example of GIS based assessments can be found in this report on the SDS risk assessment in Asia and the Pacific

    Health risk assessment

    A health risk assessment uses either data of past occurrence of SDS events and negative health conditions (Epidemiological Assessment) or the identification of mechanisms by which mineral dust can lead to negative health outcomes (Causality-Based Assessment). An assessment of health risk can be used to define specific risks for defined groups within an overall population who may experience an SDS event. 

    Economic impact assessment

    An economic impact assessment defines and quantifies the costs arising from SDS events and can also be used to assess the benefits of SDS risk management (i.e., source control and management, impact mitigation and early warning) activities, and analyse benefits-to-cost trade-offs.

    More guidance on doing economic impact assessments can be found in the SDS Compendium, chapter 6.