Volume 36, N. 1

January-April 2013

A Preliminary Assessment of the Distribution and Consequences of Natural and Some Anthropogenic Hazards in Brazil


Volume 36, N. 1, January-April 2013 | PDF (1 downloads)


This paper presents the results from a preliminary inventory of natural and man-made hazards and/or disasters in Brazil. The data were collected from previous studies, aerial photographs, satellite images and field studies. The data were obtained to evaluate the spatial distribution of natural and man-made hazards and disasters in different cities and states and to delimit the areas that have been the most affected during the last 50 years. A total of 28 different types of hazards/disasters were identified in Brazil; flooding, gravitational mass movements, continental and coastal erosion, silting and sinkholes are the more frequent, expensive, socially devastating and fatal types of hazards/disasters. Santa Catarina, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Paraná, Pernambuco, Minas Gerais, Bahia, Rio Grande do Sul and Espirito Santo are the states most often affected by these hazards and disasters and thus experience the largest economic and social costs and the most casualties. Eight zones in which natural and anthropogenic hazards and associated disasters have occurred most frequently are described in this study. Among these, the coastal zone (zone 2) and mountainous regions in Eastern Brazil (zone 8) were found to have been intensely affected by hazards/disasters, with frequencies ranging from annual (e.g., flooding) to once every five years (e.g., high-magnitude gravitational mass movements). The greatest economic and social losses and the highest reported fatalities in Brazil have occurred in these two zones.

Keywords: natural and anthropogenic hazards, disasters, economic losses, Brazil,

Submitted on May 04, 2011.
Final Acceptance on November 03, 2012.
Discussion open until August 30, 2013.
DOI: 10.28927/SR.361067