» New publication: Chile 2012 disaster risk analysis
17.01.2013 - UNESCO Office in Santiago

New publication: Chile 2012 disaster risk analysis

In a move to support efforts underway in Chile to minimise risk conditions, UNESCO Santiago, Chile’s National Emergency Office (ONEMI), UNDP and Red Cross Chile have joined forces with other groups to prepare a document titled “Chile 2012 disaster risk analysis”, as part of the framework of activities for the 7th Action Plan for South America of the Disaster Preparedness Programme (DIPECHO) - an initiative run by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid (DG – ECHO)


The document is aimed towards all stakeholders involved in the National Civil Protection System, as well as a wide spectrum of civil society organizations such as universities, private sector groups, and others with an interest in an integrated vision of Chile’s current risk situation. According to Benjamin Chacana, Deputy National Director of ONEMI "This version represents a major step forward in supporting risk management in our country, as it proposes approaches to disaster risk reduction, and highlights the recognition of the importance of this issue in Chile."

Chile’s geographic conditions expose the whole country to a wide range of disaster threats. This distinctive geography combines with the country’s demographics and a number of different social, political, and economic features to create a disaster risk profile that exposes its population, infrastructure, and systems to major potential harm and damages, in terms of human life as well as economic, environmental, and social threats.

Risk management and education must be united to prevent the worst from coming to pass. Indeed, in the words of Giovana Santillán, project coordinator for the UNESCO DIPECHO initiative on Strengthening the Regional Tsunami Early Warning System in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, “Integrating risk management with education processes helps to boost awareness among the population regarding the effects of disasters, helping to build a culture of risk reduction and prevention, as a key part of a country’s sustainable development process. This document includes the latest advances and strategies developed by the Chilean Ministry of Education in coordination with ONEMI and other partners, developing values related to reducing disaster risk through capacity building.

The report was prepared in coordination with ONEMI, the UNDP in Chile, the Chilean Red Cross, and the UNESCO Regional Bureau of Education.

Updating for prevention
The text was based on an update of the Chile 2010 disaster risk analysis, aiming to provide a view of the current panorama of risk conditions in Chile that takes into account threat factors, vulnerability, and capacities present in the country; it can be taken as a baseline for the implementation of disaster risk reduction projects.

Unlike the previous version, the 2012 report was prepared with a process that included a broad ranging citizen consultation phase, providing input for the document’s content, as well as a national workshop held in September 2012 at which a preliminary release was presented and discussed. The new version also includes further information on vulnerability conditions affecting the country, with a special emphasis on capacities already present to reduce vulnerability. It also features a description of the process currently underway to create a new National Emergency Agency, to replace the Chilean National Emergency Office (ONEMI), and the process for the new law to come into force.

Contents of the publication
The document contains information on the conceptual framework of risk management, and relevant approaches in the international context. It describes Chile’s principal geographic, demographic, and socioeconomic features, and presents the current legal and regulatory framework for civil protection, as well as a number of complementary frameworks.

The section on risk conditions addresses the different components of risk, including a brief historical analysis of the disasters that have affected the country. The following section discusses threats, describing the main natural threats that make up Chile’s disaster risk profile. Additionally, the section on capacities explores the resources that the country can call upon to face these threats.

As a result of the incomplete nature of existing information, the chapter on vulnerabilities provides a theoretical description of the principal vulnerability factors that affect disaster risk in Chile, discussing the ratings that the country has achieved in a number of indices. The document’s annexes include detailed recommendations for stakeholders in the National Civil Protection System, and for international cooperation groups, with a view to enabling rapid contributions to strengthening risk management in Chile.

This document describes the advances that the country has made, as well as contributions and vision statements from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Office of the Under-Secretary for Regional and Administrative Development, Universidad de Concepción, Universidad de Chile, Chilean Naval Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service – SHOA, Scouts of Chile, Visión Mundial, Ministry of Public Works, Ministry of the Environment, the Universidad de Chile’s Seismological Service, the Municipality of Santiago, USAID/OFDA, the Chilean Association for the UN, Pastoral Social Caritas, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid, the team at the National Emergency Office (ONEMI) Civil Protection and Early Warning Centre, and ONEMI field offices in Santiago’s Metropolitan Region and Coquimbo.

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