From flood risk mapping towards reducing vulnerability: the case of Addis Ababa

Raffaele De Risi, Fatemeh Jalayer, Francesco De Paola, Stefano Carozza, Nebyou Yonas, Maurizio Giugni, Paolo Gasparini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
136 Downloads (Pure)


Flood risk maps for the built environment can be obtained by integrating geo-spatial information on hazard, vulnerability and exposure. They provide precious support for strategic urban planning and decision-making. These maps, generated in a probabilistic framework, can consider various sources of uncertainty in the flood risk assessment such as the occurrence of extreme flooding events, future land use and land cover, characteristics of the buildings, and exposure to flooding. This paper investigates how these maps can be used in complicated urban context such as developing countries, where engineers are forced to work with scarce or little data. Specifically, a detailed investigation on the city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, has been conducted. Although the city of Addis Ababa is undergoing extensive formal housing development, it is most likely that the informal settlements will continue to constitute a significant portion of urban housing landscape in the years to come. Recent research findings and field work from a large project (FP7-CLUVA) are employed in order to provide a quantified basis for decision-making between alternative adaptation strategies for informal buildings in Addis Ababa. Risk maps, obtained by up-scaling more accurate risk assessment results at neighborhood level, are adopted for risk zoning of the urban residential texture within the city. This provides risk-based criteria for both identifying suitable flood adaptation strategies and prioritizing between viable risk-mitigation measures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-415
Number of pages29
JournalNatural Hazards
Early online date2 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Extreme meteorological events
  • rainfall-induced flooding
  • flood risk
  • risk zoning
  • exposure
  • urban morphology type
  • fragility
  • informal settlements
  • Africa


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