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Risk and Crisis Management - a case study of an intensely ...

  1. 1. Risk Assessment and Crisis Management for a Winter Tourist Resort (St.Anton a/A, Tyrol, Austria) - A Case Study Rudolf Sailer Austrian Institute for Avalanche and Torrent Research Federal Office and Research Centre for Forests, Innsbruck / Vienna St.Anton a/A is a small mountain village with aproximately 2.500 inhabitants, situated 100 km in the West of Innsbruck at the boarder between Vorarlberg and Tyrol (Austria). During the winter-season the number of people living in St.Anton increases up to 12.000. The overnight stays per year have increased from about 32.000 in 1947 to about 1 million in 2000. The intense touristic development necessitate the investigation of a so called "Integrated Risk and Crisis Management Plan (IKMP)". The aim is to supply a helpful tool to the decision makers of the community in any case of crisis handling. The core of the IKMP is the combination of practical needs with the most modern prognosis and simulation technologies in terms of natural hazard assessment and management. This is accomplished by Geographic Information Systems and leads to an immediate understanding of complex situations and a prompt reactions to this, if necessary. In summary, the IKMP is a method to generate the structure and organisation of the community of St.Anton a/A related to risk and crisis management considering the most modern computer technologies. I. Introduction After the winter 1999 with its extreme events the Community of St.Anton a/A decided together with the Austrian Institute for Avalanche and Torrent Research (Federal Office and Research Centre for Forests, Innsbruck / Vienna, Austria) to investigate an Integrated Risk and Crisis Management Plan. There are several reasons to do this. As shown in the following chaptures during the high season St.Anton a/A is a very croweded tourist resort. On the other side - and the good snow conditions are also a result of this - heavy snowfalls may occure. In generally this is, with respect to the extended control measuers, not problematic. The Austrian Service for Torrent and Avalanche Control (Gebietsbauleitung Oberes Inntal) spent about 17 Mio. Euro (approx. 14 Mio. US-Dollar) sinc 1988. The first measures where build in the year 1969. After that a Hazard Zone Map was created in 1979. On the base of this Hazard Zone Map the intense construction of measures started. Previous to the Alpine Ski Championship 2001 accomplished in St.Anton a/A the measures control reached its peak by creating approximately 3.000 meters snowpack-stabalizing structures and a catching dam with a earthmoving of about 140.000 cubicmeters within the least three years. In addition to this permanent measures the local government decided to initialize temporary measures to deliver tools to the decicionmakers. All this tools will be summarized in the so called Integrated Risk and Crisis Management Plan. This paper will show the development of St.Anton a/A as a worldwide known tourist resort (cf. chapter I.1.). Then, in chapter I.2. an overview of the total concept of the Risk and Crisis management Plan will be given. Subsequent to the introduction to the touristical history of St.Anton a/A and the overview of the Risk and Crisis Managment Plan two examples will follow. In chapter II. it is 1
  2. 2. demonstrated how GIS can be used to interprete and analyse results of external numerical simulation models. In the following example (chapter III.) an overview of the organisational structure - related to crisis management - in the municipality of St.Anton a/A is given. This structure was built up before the Alpine Ski Championship in February 2001 were held and was helpful at all stages of decisionmaking during the event. The application of different standard GIS operations (spatial query, thematic query) in risk and crisis management is shown in chapter III.2. with examples of roadblocks and evacuations related to avalanche danger. I. 1. History and Statistics The municipality of St.Anton a/A was funded previous to the 13th century and had several names. The new name St.Anton a/A was established in the year 1929. Due to the high altitude (1300 - 1580 m) in former times (pre winter tourism epoch) the village remained small with less than 1000 inhabitants. Until the end of the 19th century the main subsistence was earned by farming and traffic facilities. With the establishment of a railway connection between Innsbruck in the East and Bregenz in the West by tunnel under the Arlberg (in 1884) a constant development of the number of inhabitants, buildings, tourist beds and overnight stands occured. Until now specifically the number of overnight stands and tourist beds increased rapidly and constant (cf. Figure 1). Figure 2: Overnight stands and Visitors in the year Figure 1: Developement of St.Anton a/A 1896 - 1999 2000 The last years the overnight stands per year are close to 1 Mio. St.Anton a/A is mainly a winter tourist resort with the greatest amount of overnight stands in January, February and March with sligthly above 200.000 overnight stands and approximately 30.000 Visitors per month. During the low season in spring with May and June and the low season in autumn with September, October and November there are only a few tourist visiting St.Anton a/A. Also in summermonths July and August the number of tourists visiting the village and its interesting and beautiful surrounding is only a small part compared with the winter season. 2
  3. 3. I. 2. Overview to the Integrated Risk and Crisis Management Plan The entire Risk and Crisis Management Plan is divided in two main parts. i) The Risk management with the tasks of Riskhandling and Planning of Measures is subdivided in the two functional groups Riskanalyse and Riskassessment. ii) The Crisis management itself is subdivided in the functional groups Crisisprecausion and Crisishandling. There is a clear border between this functional groups. This is clearly marked by the happening of a disaster or catastrophic event. Figure 3: Concept of the Integrated Risk and Crisis Management Plan One aim of the project is to implement the latest Simulation and Prognosis technologies to both parts - Risk management and Crisis management - of the entire plan. In terms of Riskanalyse a high developed numerical avalanche simulation model - SAMOS - is used to calculate scenarios and to create Scenario Hazard Maps. This Scenario Hazard Maps are a input parameter to assess risk and to analyse the cost-value ratio. In Crisisprecausion too, the most modern Technologies are implemented in the system of managing extraordinary situations. One example is shown below anonther example is the inclusion of Automatic Weather Stations with a completely energy balance station. Both are used to get information of the situation in the release areas of potential avalanche areas and deliver a lot of parameters. One of the most important parameters for the decisionmakers is the snow depth. Up to now snow depth measurements are related to one or only a couple of points. With the new develeoped Laserscanner the snow distribution of an entire area can be gained. These are only a few examples of a complex system to make decisions (diagnosis) and to come to an early recognition and an early warning system. A modern Crisis management is mainly related to a working communication and information technology. Of course the most modern 3
  4. 4. management and information technologies will be implemented in the Crisis Management Plan. The legal aspects of the Integrated Risk and Crisis Management Plan are: i. Katastrophenhilfsdienstgesetz 1974 (i.e. Disaster Assistant Law) ii. Lawinenkommissionsgesetz 1992 (i.e. Avalanche Commission Law) iii. Geschäftsordung der Lawinenkommission (i.e. Agenda of the local Avalanche Commission) I. 3. Necessity of a Integrated Risk and Crisis Management Plan As mentioned above, St.Anton a/A is a high developed winter sport resort with nearly 1 Mio. overnight stands a year. It is already mentioned that January, February and March are the busiest months. But, these are also the months with the highest probability of avalanches. The maximum amount of coincidense probability between Tourist Seasonality and Exposure to Avalanches is reached (cf. Figure 4). Figure 4: Coincidence probability As shown in Map of Settlement in Hazard Zones and Figure 5 a) and b) the number of buildings in the Yellow and Red Zones of the Hazard Map remains constant since the implementation of the Hazard Zone Map in 1979, although it would be legaly correct to build under legal restraints in the Yellow Zone, and although the settlment area is one of the limiting factors of St.Anton a/A. It seems to be a fact that the implementation of a Hazard Map is an appropriate tool to control settlement in endangered mountain areas. Figure 5 a) and b): Developement of the Settlement Area in the Hazard Zones (Figures refer only to the central part of St.Anton a/A) 4
  5. 5. Even, as mentioned in the Introduction, the Austrian Avalanche and Torrent Control did a lot of measures in and arrount the municipality of St.Anton a/A the community of St.Anton a/A decided to implement a Integrated Risk and Crisis Managment Plan. This is mainly a result of the really intense touristic developement combined with the potential natural hazard risks. During the high season in avarage approximately 5.500 visitors are daily in the village. Additionaly to the nearly 4.000 to 5.000 inhabitants and employees in the absolute high season the total number of people living in the area reaches up to 13.000 to 15.000. Following this numbers and the fact that St.Anton a/A is situated in a distinctive mountainuous area a risk and crisis management plan as proposed by the author seems to be a reliable tool in managing natural hazards. II. Risk assessment: Scenarios and Versioning Figure 6: Extremum statistics of snow fall of the period from 1895 to 2000 A central technique in the analyse of risk due to natural hazards is the processing of scenarios. With respect to snow avalanches the scenario processing is strictly realated to simulation models. In Austria the developement of a threedimensional avalanche simulation model based on fundamental fluid mechanics was done by AVL List, Graz in cooperation with the Austrian Instiute for Avalanche and Torrent Research and the Austrian Service for Torrent and Avalanche Control. SAMOS (Snow Avalanche MOdelling and Simulation) is a physically based model that couples a 2D granular flow model for the dense flow layer and a 3D turbulent flow model for the powder layer with a simple transition model (Sampl et al. 2000). In the year 2000 an entrainment module was added to SAMOS to calculate avalanches that work in the snow layer along the track (Sailer and Rammer 2001). With regard to the scenario calculation with SAMOS the main information is gained from the extremum statistics that have been done from the Austrian Weather Service, Regional Centre Innsbruck. The amounts of several snow depths are grouped and classified to get at least three to four distinctly differing scenarios. The results of the simulation (run-out area, dynamic pressures, etc.) are transfered to the risk analyses (Map of Avalanche Scenarios). The output of the result of the numerical simulation with samos is spatially analysed with Geographic Information Systems. To calculate the risk to be killed in a specific to avalaches exposed road section is a function of (BUWAL 1999): 5
  6. 6. i. Intensity of the avalanche ii. Length of the exposed road section iii. Velocity of the car / bus iv. Average daily traffic or rush hour traffic to calculate worst scenarios (Stickler et al. 1994) v. Lethality (also a function of intensity) vi. Avarage number of people per car / bus. The Map of Risk on Roads shows how one scenario serve as a tool for detecting road sections with higher risk potentials according to specific weather and snow conditions. The necessary information which scenario is the closest to the real conditions are gained from detailed field observations and automatic weather stations (AWS) in the region and around the region. At the moment two AWS are in operational use in St.Anton a/A. The data are collected from the Avalanche Warning Center in Innsbruck( Lawinenwarndienst) and distributed to all avalanche commission members via FTP-access. One of the AWS is situated on the Rendl Ski Area and is a fully equiped radiation balance station. This station deliver all necessary input data to run Snow Models. In future the modelling results will serve as important input parameters for the avalanche simulation results as well as additional information for the avalanche commissions. Another method to support the decisionmaker with information on the snow distribution with a Laserscanner is described in Sailer, 2001. All the mentioned systems, some of them are under develpement yet, are promising methods in the field of fore- and nowcasting and should grow up to discharging tools for the decisionmakers. III. Organisation structure in the crisis management The following subsections show the organisational structure that was developed previous to the Alpin Ski World Championship 2001. The mandate to do this was given by the Organisation Committee of the World Championship, the District Government of Landeck and the Municipality of St.Anton a/A. This guaranteed the interest of all involved responsible persons and the acceptance of all involved organisations - both very important facts for the successful implementation of the intended program. The model mentioned below refers only to winterseason and to activities derived from winter-risks. III. 1. Orangisation structure - an overview The organisation structure is based on a three phased model with three distinct main focuses. The first layer - the "Information Layer" - shows how avalanche and weather relevant information are provided to the decisionmakers, i.e. the avalanche commission in winter. Particular the relevant information are delivered from official institutions, mainly from avalanche warning centers ( Tyrol and Vorarlberg) and the Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics, Regional Centre Innsbruck. In the Federal District of Landeck the Information Center ASI Landeck (Alpine Sicherheit und Information) was foundet in 2000. The principle task of this union is the collection and distribution of security relevant information to: i) the public (external area) or ii) to exclusive users (internal area) - both via Internet access. To coordinate all decisions, a phone conference with the avalanche commissions of the neighbouring municipalities has to be arranged from the head of the avalanche commission of St.Anton a/A. This is because of the central location of the village of St.Anton a/A along the West-East main road, connecting Western Austria with Central Austria. 6
  7. 7. Figure 7: Overview of structure layers of the Information Distribution in case of winter hazards In the second layer - the "Decision Layer" - the interpretation of the information gained from the "Information Layer" have to be analysed and interpreted. Following this interpretation the responsibilities (i.e. avalanche commission and mayor) are encouraged to find first preliminary measures. As mentioned above, at this stage of process the most modern simulation and prognosis technologies are helpful tools. To save time and accurateness of the decisions the distribution of the information has to be done immediately and without intermediaryties (cf. Figure 7). The addressees of the distributed measures are all involved organisations (municipality; emergency organisations - mountain rescue, fire brigade, red cross; police; tourist information; ASI; etc.). One of the focal points, mainly during the World Championship claimed, are the construction of an "Expert Pool". Differing from the size of the hazardous situation local, regional or (trans)national avalanche experts have been asked to support the crisis squad in several manners, related to weather, avalanche and control measures topics. Thereby the fundamental idea is to exculpate the responsibilies, i.e. the decisionmakers, from the necessity to communicate with the press. Therefore decisionmakers must not be member of an local, regional or (trans)national expert group, because these groups might have to evaluate the decisions and measures. This results in an objective, transparent and therefore thrustworthy illustration of the on-site situation. Whereas the "Local Experts" are familiar with the on-site findings the "Regional Experts" and particularely the "(Trans)national Experts" are asked to give comments related to the general avalanche and/or weather situation leading to road- blocks and/or evacuations. This gains in importance if the municipality of St.Anton a/A is not involved in such measures. On the basis of the valid legal aspects and with reference to natural winter-hazards three main scenarios (cf. chapter I.2.) have been created up to now: i) Alpine Accident, ii) Evacuation and/or Roadblocks and iii) Worst Case. All the mentioned models are preliminary and are to be revised during the final stage of the entire "Integral Risk and Crisis Managment Plan", assuming that rules of internal procedures will be generated. Figure 8 gives a survey of the structure and organisation in case of feasible evacuations and/or roadblocks. 7
  8. 8. Figure 8: Scenario - Evacuation III. 2. Roadblocks and Evacuation Even though control measures have been done on all relevant avalanche paths, in extraordinary cases road blocks or evacuations may be necessary. Ditto in the frame of evacuation plan and road blocks the simulation results are decisive parameter for the decisionmakers and the authority of St.Anton a/A. Few years ago the Tyrolean Government TIRIS (Tiroler Raumordnungs Informations System) started to georeference all addresses throughout Tyrol. Together with the Digital Hazard Map and the Digital Catastrial Map it is possible to build up the necessary steps to the evacuation plan completely within the frame of a GIS and without additional features. Starting with a simple spatial query (cf. Figure 9) and a thematic query the endangered road sections are highlighted (cf. Hardprint: Evacuationplan). Figure 9: Spatial query of addresses in hazard zones Additional to georeferenced addresses a database consisting of hotel and house names, together with phone and fax number, grid square and e-mail addresses is related to the addresses database. This offers the oportunity to have all major information to manage the information and mandatory evacuations (cf Figure 10). Additionaly to the hardprints the visualisation with an LCD Projector of the basic maps offers other advantages. During the meeting the decisionmakers do have all the same standard of knowledge with regards to the areas in discussion and the localities. And also in case of executing roadblocks or evacuations the visualisation and hardprint copies of the results of the meeting delivers a unique and from all members of the crises squad accepted opinion. 8
  9. 9. Figure 10: Result of spatial and thematic query Conclusions A Integrated Risk and Crisis Management Plan as introduced in this paper is a highly complex construction. The topics range from recording and analysing natural hazard risks as a combination of hard field work and computer simulation to applied Crisis Management with the aim to prevent disasters and, in case of the occurance of a disaster, to manage the critical situation. Provided that the policymakers have the readiness to invest time and money a Integrated Risk and Crisis Management Plan supports additional tools to policy- and decisionmakers. Both, time and money, is required to fulfill all the steps of investigating agendas and management plans with regard to crisis handling. This is not only true for the local authorities of the municipality but also for the next higher level of the district government of Landeck. The establishment of an extended database is one of the efforts to a succsessfull execution of the Risk and Crisis Management in work. Therefore a great number of organisations are involved in the implementation. Due to the high developed Geoinformation Departement of the Federal Province Government of Tyrol (Noggler 2000) the mentioned demands are met in a wide range. One of the basic aims of the pilot project is to find a way that allows an easy and simple approach also in actualizing the data bases. The operationable structure and organisation seems to be to install a Communal Information System. Communal Information System in the structure of the Tyrolean Government GIS will ensure an up to date and homogenized actualization of all data independent of the organisation of the Integrated Risk and Crisis Management Plan. The Risk and Crisis Management Plan have to has without fail direct access to the Communal Information System, which will be installed in St.Anton a/A within a few months. In addition not only a Communal Information System fulfill the necessities deduced from the "New Technologies" but also the coordination of the Internet-Access. ASI Landeck (cf. chapter III.1.) shows an auspicious trend how external and internal areas can be used to share information with the public or how the internal and restricted communication of specific partners and organisations might be arranged. Due to the fact that the legal situation is not conform with the possibilities offered by the new technologies the mentioned "Integrated Risk and Crisis Management Plan" is a helpful and necessary tool in all its particulars. The IKMP is embedded in the frame of the crisis management duties of the municipality of St.Anton a/A. In case of an outstandig disaster or in case of involving additional municipalities the Distric Government of Landeck assume the 9
  10. 10. leadership of the crisis management. Therefore, the district governor is leader and director of operations (Figure 11). Due to that fact, the "Integrated Risk and Crisis Management Plan" acts as an interface between the municipality of St.Anton a/A and the District Government of Landeck. Within the functional frame of the municipality itself the IKMP enables the communication between all involved organisations and offers the possibiltiy to the director of operations (i.e. the mayor) to get into business without delay. All essential variations of facilities are prepared to support the decision- and policymakers with the most important information and prepared control measures during and/or in face of a disaster. In consequence to the rapid devolpement of capable and effective computer based simulation and prognosis technologies in avalanche science decisionmakers and official authorities need to be assisted to ascertain the most useful tools and methods. The IKMP supports the policimakers as well as the decisionmakers the necessary facts in cooperation with the Institute of Avalanche and Torrent Research. Some examples are illustrated in this paper and in Sailer, 2001. Figure 11: The IKMP as an interface to the authorities and emergency organisations. The test run this year (2001) and particularely the forefield of the World Championship were characterized by the central control of public relations, concerning risk- and crisis management. Furthermore, a distinct appropriation to the scope of functions and a distinct assignment of duties has been carried out. After a tentative review of this semi- administrative proceeding the results are incoorporated in the IKMP in progress. According to that, the mayor of St.Anton a/A has to enlist the Crisis Squad. This has to been done parallel to the emergency measures carried out from the emergency organisations and mostly supervised from police. Due to the legal situation the leadership of the crisis squad has to be assumed by the mayor himself. But, it is planned to subdivide this wide range of technical and administrative responsibility into several fields of duty. One of the focal points is to announce a responsible person out of the crisis squad, who as to govern public relations and who has to interact with the press. This and all other technical or administrative positions that have to be assigned require comprehensive training and practice. Together with the Tyrolean Government (Departement: Avalanche Commissions) and the University of Innsbruck (Departement of Geography and Institute for Social Medicine) the Institute for Avalanche and Torrent Research is organising training courses for avalanche commissions and policimakers, taking into account the basics of risk and crisis management. 10
  11. 11. Appendix Map of Settlement in Hazard Zones Back to Text 11
  12. 12. Map of Avalanche Scenarios Back to Text Map of Risk on Roads Back to Text 12
  13. 13. Hardprint: Evacuation plan Back to Text 13
  14. 14. References BUWAL, 1999. Risikoanalyse bei gravitativen Naturgefahren, Methode, 107/I. BUWAL, Bern, 115 pp. Back to Text Noggler, B., 2000. GIS im Intra- und Internet. Naturgefahren in Tirol. TIRIS. Back to Text Sailer, R. and Rammer, L., 2001. Recalculation of an artificial released avalanche with SAMOS and validation with measurements from a pulsed Doppler Radar. Natural Hazard and Earth System Science, submitted. Back to Text Sailer, R., 2001. Risk assessment and crisis management for a winter tourist resort (St.Anton a/A, Tyrol, Austria). ESRI User Conference 2001, San Diego, submitted. Back to Text: Chapter III.1. Back to Text: Conclusions Sampl, P., Zwinger, T. and Schaffhauser, H., 2000. Evaluation of Avalanche Defense Structures with the simulation Model SAMOS. Rock and Soil Engeneering, 1/2000: 41-46. Back to Text Stickler, H., Hafele, R. and Greussing, E., 1994. Verkehrskonzept St.Anton a/A: Analyse und Konzept. Ingenieurbüro Stickler, Innsbruck. Back to Text Rudolf Sailer Austrian Institute for Avalanche and Torrent Research Federal Office and Research Centre for Forests, Innsbruck / Vienna, Austria Rudolf.Sailer@uibk.ac.at 14