Vulnerability

Azerbaijan’s population is vulnerable to earthquakes, drought and flooding. The GFDRR Disaster Risk Profile for the country estimated that an earthquake with a 250-year return period would affect $40 billion (71%) of Azerbaijan’s GDP and 3 million (34%) of its population (GFDRR, 2016). Droughts are of frequent occurrence, and can lead to forest fires such as those experienced in 2014, when 59 hectares of forest were damaged by 12 fires (Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, 2015). Flooding is a regular issue in the country, denuding the land and damaging soil. It is estimated to cause the Azerbaijan economy a total damage of $18-25 million each year (Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, 2010).

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.

Natural Hazard Statistics

The charts provide overview of the most frequent natural disaster in a given country and understand the impacts of those disasters on human populations.

Metadata

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.

Natural Hazard / Development Nexus

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.


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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.

Key Vulnerabilities
  • A significant proportion of the population is vulnerable to rises in food prices: the FAO (2010) states that the poorest 20% spend more than 60% of their budget on food. Food prices in Azerbaijan rose by an average of 14.8% in 2016 and 16.5% in 2017, driving a high overall rate of consumer price inflation (State Statistical Committee, 2018b).
  • Flooding has considerable potential to reduce crop output. In 2010, cereal production fell by 14% relative to its 2005-09 average due to floods (FAO, 2011).
  • Given the high concentration of the country’s economic activity in the capital, an earthquake that affected Baku would have a significant impact on the country’s GDP (GFDRR, 2016).
  • Severe flooding occurred in Azerbaijan in 2003, when 30,000 people were affected, resulting in over $70 million in damage. Flooding in 1995 affected 1.5 million people, a far greater proportion of the population than in 2003, and caused approximately $30 million worth of damage (GFDRR, 2016). 
  • Baku, the capital, was struck by an earthquake of magnitude 6.8 in 2000, which killed more than 30 people and caused more than $10 million in damage. Another earthquake, which occurred in 1999, resulted in one fatality and approximately $7 million in damage (GFDRR, 2016).
  • The Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan has prioritized the improvement of meteorological systems to provide early warning of extreme weather events.
  • A report on flood monitoring by the European Commission (2018) indicates that priorities for Azerbaijan include improving data processing in its weather forecasting systems, training hydrologists and meteorologists and increasing the number of meteorological stations in operation.