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Post-processing HAZUS earthquake damage and loss assessments for individual buildings


Building damage probabilities are invaluable for assessing short-term losses from natural hazards. In many countries however, the individual building level data required for assessing reliable damage are usually unavailable. This paper shows how the post-processing of aggregate HAZUS earthquake damage assessments can yield building-level damage probabilities. On the basis of three plausible scenarios for Northern Israel, we generate and visualize a building-level combined damage probability index. We use the tools of exploratory spatial data analysis to purge any causal influences in the spatial pattern of these calculated damage probabilities. The costs and benefits of our approach are discussed.

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adapted from Gvirtzman and Zaslavsky 2009)

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  1. HAZUS-MH is a freely available, GIS (Geographic Information Systems)-based damage and loss estimation software developed by FEMA (the US Federal Emergency Management Agency) in association with NIBS (the National Institute for Building Sciences). It currently incorporates dedicated modules for dealing with earthquakes, flooding, hurricanes and tsunamis. Outputs include physical damage assessment for buildings and critical infrastructure, economic loss evaluation and social impact assessment, such as displaced households and shelter requirements. For a chronology of HAZUS development, see Schneider and Schauer (2006).

  2. Fragility functions express a mathematical relationship between the probability of an undesirable event occurring, such as building collapse, and environmental excitation—for example, ground motion acceleration or any other extreme loading condition.


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Correspondence to Daniel Felsenstein.

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Felsenstein, D., Elbaum, E., Levi, T. et al. Post-processing HAZUS earthquake damage and loss assessments for individual buildings. Nat Hazards 105, 21–45 (2021).

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  • Post-processing
  • Damage assessment
  • Earthquakes
  • Israel