Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Qüense J., Martinez C., León J., Aránguiz R., Inzunza S., Guerrero N., Chamorro A., Bonet M. (2022)

Land cover and potential for tsunami evacuation in rapidly growing urban areas. The case of Boca Sur (San Pedro de la Paz, Chile)

Revista : International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Número : 102747
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


The destructive potential of a massive tsunami is not only related to society’s response capacity and evacuation plans, but also to the urban morphology and land cover. The Boca Sur neighborhood is one of the areas in central Chile that is most exposed to tsunamis, and it is framed in the context of increasing urban growth. Faced with the worst tsunami scenario (earthquake Mw = 9.0), residents’ evacuation potential is analyzed by using a least-cost-distance model, and two scenarios of land cover change are considered (2002 and 2018). Presently, the sector’s urban areas have grown by 83%, therefore its population has also grown. The evacuation times consider an average walking speed (1.22 m/s) for both years (2002 and 2018). This analysis establishes that over 40% of the study area is more than 60 min away from the safe zones established by authorities. This differs greatly from the 22-min average tsunami arrival time. Moreover, 19% of the area could not be evacuated in less than 30 min. Therefore, it can be concluded that the increased urbanization in the coastal area has not improved travel times, as urban planning did not consider the optimization of evacuation times to the designated safe zones. In this study, we propose new safe zones that would help reducing evacuation times to 30 min. In addition to the area’s high tsunami risk, the evacuated population’s strong travel time limitations are added, prioritizing the incorporation of social and urban resilience elements that help to effectively reduce the risk of disaster, by using land-use planning and community work.