High poverty rates have persisted in Armenia driving up vulnerability to natural hazards and climate risks. The most serious disasters in Armenia’s history have primarily been earthquakes, notably the 1988 Spitak quake, which killed over 25,000 people. Armenia has vulnerability to mudflow and landslides (GFDRR: Armenia, 2017). Around 4.1% of the country’s area is exposed to landslide risk, and almost one third of its communities. Large areas face drought risk, and some areas, particularly the Ararat and Shirak valleys, face flood risk. Around 40,000 people are affected by flooding each year costing around $100 million in national GDP. The risks of disasters resulting from these drivers are likely to increase as the severity and frequency of extreme climate events increases due to climate change.
This section provides a summary of key natural hazards and their associated socioeconomic impacts in a given country. And it allows quick evaluation of most vulnerable areas through the spatial comparison of natural hazard data with development data, thereby identifying exposed livelihoods and natural systems.
The charts provide overview of the most frequent natural disaster in a given country and understand the impacts of those disasters on human populations.
Climate change is now recognized to have a significant impact on disaster management efforts and pose a significant threat to the efforts to meet the growing needs of the most vulnerable populations. The demands of disaster risk management are such that concise, clear, and reliable information is crucial. The information presented here offers insight into the frequency, impact and occurrence of natural hazards. Source (PDF)
Understanding natural hazard occurrence as well as historical climate conditions, in relation to development contexts, is critical to understanding a country’s historical vulnerability. This tool allows the visualization of different natural hazards or historical climate conditions with socio-economic and development datasets. Select the Development Context and either a Natural Hazard or Climate Condition and overlay horizontally by sliding the toggle left or right to gain a broader sense of historically vulnerable areas.
Data presented under Historical Climate Conditions are reanalysis products derived from ERA5-Land data. ERA5-Land is a global land-surface dataset at 9 km resolution, consistent with atmospheric data from the ERA5 reanalysis from 1950 onward. Climate reanalyses combine past observations with models to generate consistent time series of multiple climate variables. They provide a comprehensive description of the observed climate as it has evolved during recent decades, on 3D grids at sub-daily intervals.
This data has been collected, aggregated and processed by the Climate Resilience Cluster of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EO4SD) initiative.
- The 2001 drought highlighted the vulnerability of the rural poor to drought, agencies working in the region reported more than 25,000 poor households affected, the majority of whom were dependent on local food production which was severely drought damaged.
- Heavy rainfall events are known to trigger landslides and mudflows in rural areas of Armenia, often affecting poorer rural communities.
- River levels in Armenia are particularly variable and can change rapidly, often without forewarning, resulting in flooding.
- Flooding can result in damage to agricultural production in rural areas. As of 2014 UNISDR estimate this amounts to an average annual loss of $21 million.
- Increases in the frequency of landslides in recent years are reported in Armenia’s Third Communication to the UNFCCC (2015).
- The National Climate Vulnerability Assessment: Armenia (2014) reports an historical increase in the intensity and frequency of droughts and other extreme weather events such as hail storms, strong winds, and heavy rainfall.
- The Government of Armenia, led by its National Disaster Observatory, is focusing on improving information, monitoring and warning systems to better understand and respond to disaster risk, this includes flood, mud and landslide risk mapping
- Efforts are needed to improve disaster preparedness, particularly in remote and poor communities
- The government, with support from the World Bank, is exploring risk-financing models to help reduce the economic burden of disaster on the government, businesses, and households.