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Keywords:

  • copying capacity;
  • earthquake protection;
  • islands;
  • vulnerability

Abstract

Viewing an insular setting as a distinct risk environment, an effort is made here to develop a methodology for identifying core issues related to earthquake risk and disaster protection policy, adjusted to the ‘specificities’ of such a context. The methodology's point of departure is the inherent condition of the ‘island operating as a closed system’, requiring an attempt to assess and optimise local capacity (social, political, economic, institutional and technical) to deal with an earthquake emergency. The island is then treated as an ‘open system’, implying that in the event of a disaster, it should be able to maximise its ability to receive and distribute external aid and to manage effectively population evacuation and inflows/outflows of aid resources. Hence, an appropriate strategic policy approach could be developed by integrating the ‘open’ and ‘closed’ system components of an island setting. Three islands from the Aegean Archipelagos in Greece—Chios, Kos and Nissyros—serve as case study areas.