Vulnerability characteristics of tsunamis in indonesia: Analysis of the global centre for disaster statistics database

Anawat Suppasri, Abdul Muhari, Syamsidik, Ridwan Yunus, Kwanchai Pakoksung, Fumihiko Imamura, Shunichi Koshimura, Ryan Paulik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Regional disaster data are important for understanding the characteristics of disasters and for identifying potential mitigation measures. However, many countries have no official disaster database that includes information such as numbers of deaths or damaged buildings for each disaster event. The Global Centre for Disaster Statistics (GCDS) was established to assist countries and organizations in the collection of disaster data. At present, a significant amount of tsunami disaster data are available from Indonesia, which will be used to demonstrate its application for analyzing vulnerability characteristics of historical tsunamis. There are 53 data points covering 13 tsunami events between the year 1861 and 2014. Based on data availability, five tsunami events, namely the 1977 Sumba, the 2004 Indian Ocean, the 2006 Java, the 2010 Mentawai, and the 2011 Great East Japan, were selected. Numbers of deaths and damaged buildings were used in combination with hazard data to estimate vulnerability, defined as the ratio between maximum flow depth against death and building damage ratios. Numbers of evacuees were initially used to estimate actual numbers of exposed population but it was later discovered that this parameter overestimated the exposed population in certain cases. As a result, this study presents the vulnerability characteristics of people and buildings in Indonesia, exposed to unusual or extreme tsunamis, mostly in a condition without or with limited access to official warnings. In brief, a maximum flow depth of 5 m caused an approximate 100% death ratio in the majority of Indonesian tsunamis in this study. On the other hand, death ratio in the 2011 Japan tsunami was limited to 10% because of the early warning and high disaster awareness. Effective disaster risk reduction activities such as official warnings, evacuations, and tsunami education were observed for certain locations. Lastly, adding hazard and population data at the village level is recommended for improving the collection of future tsunami disaster data for the GCDS database.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1039-1048
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Disaster Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Nov


  • Disaster database
  • Global centre for disaster statistics
  • Indonesia
  • Tsunami
  • Vulnerability


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