Costs of Geological Hazards
Estimating the cost of geological hazards is extremely difficult. There is no
comprehensive database of geological hazards and the data that exists consists of
individual case histories with variable information, especially as to costs.
A brief archival search shows that there have been at least 80 lives lost in
Newfoundland and Labrador over the last 150 years due to geological processes (see
Table 1 below). Of these, 28 were lost during the 1929 tsunami, while the remainder
are the result of 27 individual incidents. The list of deaths is not currently
subdivided by age, although preliminary data suggests that children are particularly
susceptible to certain hazards, particularly landslides.
|Type of Disaster
. Number of lives lost in relation to a variety of geological
The economic costs of geological hazards and disasters are extremely difficult
to estimate. Costs of clean-up are commonly absorbed by municipal and provincial
departments, and costs to individuals may be covered by insurance. The only firm
costs are those associated with remedial measures taken via a public tendering
process (Table 2).
Nevertheless, these costs provide a useful estimate of a range of remedial measures
that can be used to judge the cost of other non-tendered expenses. The cost
estimates ignore any indirect costs, such as those incurred by business through
disruption of transportation routes.
Images and text reproduced by permission of M. Batterson, D.G.E.
Liverman, J. Ryan and D. Taylor, The Assessment of Geological Hazards
and Disasters in Newfoundland: An Update. (St. John's: Government of
Newfoundland and Labrador, Department of Mines and Energy, Geological
Survey, © 1999) unless otherwise noted.