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Public awareness of landslide hazards: the Barranco de Tirajana, Gran Canaria, Spain

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When engineering methods are not cost-effective in reducing the danger from landslides, it is crucial that vulnerable communities are aware of the hazards they face and know how to respond in an emergency. Such awareness can best be maintained by a public-information programme designed around a population's existing perception of landslides. As a case study to gauge the awareness of landslide hazards, a survey has been conducted among vulnerable communities in the Barranco de Tirajana (BdT) Basin on Gran Canaria, one of the most active zones of slope movement in the Canary Islands. Results from a formal questionnaire, together with anecdotal evidence, suggest that the communities are generally aware that landslides occur in the Basin and can be dangerous, but that they rarely consider slope movements as a potential hazard to themselves. Consequently, the communities are also uncertain about the most effective response during an emergency. Another result is that there is little pressure on local authorities either to prepare contingency plans in case of major destruction by landslides, or to enforce stricter building codes to reduce the persistent damage caused by creep. Having highlighted the weaknesses in hazard perception, the results of the survey have been used to design an awareness programme for the Basin. They may also be used as a basis for similar initiatives elsewhere.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-48
Number of pages10
JournalGeomorphology
Volume54
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2003

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