TRAFFIC DATA AS PROXY OF BUSINESS DOWNTIME AFTER NATURAL DISASTERS: THE CASE OF KATHMANDU

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Abstract

Traffic data identified from free, satellite imagery, such as historical imagery available on Google Earth, are collected and employed as possible indicator of business downtime after the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake in Nepal. Business downtime is a crucial factor when assessing losses and it is also of great importance to insurance and reinsurance companies, particularly the downtime of private businesses, for which limited data is available. Currently, indicators of business recovery after natural disaster events either focus on damage or they are directly collected through costly procedures and none of the approaches available quantifies longer term recovery. In many cases, such data, when available, are not easy to access. There is a need for both time- and cost-effective methods to quantify business downtime that are not necessarily derived from physical damage and are able to describe both short-term and, potentially, long-term business recovery. The aim of this quantification refers to the recovery phase rather than the immediate emergency response in the
aftermath of a natural disaster. Car and lorry numbers of four areas of Kathmandu were counted from historical images available on Google Earth. These four areas correlated to the four areas in which data related to business closures were obtained through interviews during a field investigation made by the authors in Kathmandu in November 2016 (18 months after the event). Food and health business closure data correlate very satisfactory with the calculated drop in car numbers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication11th National Conference on Earthquake Engineering 2018 (11NCEE): Integrating Science, Engineering, & Policy
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of a meeting held 25-29 June 2018, Los Angeles, California, USA.
PublisherEarthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI)
Pages5595-5605
Number of pages11
Volume9
ISBN (Print)9781510873254
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

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