Damage potential

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In risk management, damage potential is generally referred to as values ​​in a delimited investigation area that could potentially be affected by a defined natural event (e.g. flood , tsunami , earthquake , ...) and are to be regarded as susceptible to damage; There is still no clear statement about the extent of damage to these values.

Rather, the concept was introduced in order to create a basis for the assessment of damage caused by such natural events depending on the event characteristics (intensity, duration, spatial extent, etc.) and to be able to estimate the maximum upper limit of the impact.

A natural event always affects people and objects (residential buildings, non-residential buildings, infrastructure systems and facilities, vehicles, etc.). These objects in the room are called "inventory values". Insofar as a value can be specified for this (e.g. in monetary terms), the existing inventory in such an examination room is also referred to as "value stocks"; In a broader sense, these can also be cultural goods, environmental goods, etc.


To determine the maximum damage potential, one needs exactly described and clearly understandable assumptions about event characteristics, scenarios of the conditions in the investigation area and the course of the event (commonly referred to as "catastrophe scenarios").

For individual combinations of the event characteristics, assumptions and scenario characteristics, estimates can then be made as if - then - statements about the extent of damage by using suitable models.


The different concepts and terms are often confused, especially

  • the damage potential on the one hand and
  • the maximum damage (in each case for the same defined event) on the other hand, but sometimes also other concepts like the
  • Damage ex post (during / after a single event)
  • Damage ex ante (for a defined event according to an estimate or simulation)
  • Expected damage value (as an integral of all individual damage up to the extreme event).

The mentioned damage concepts must always be clearly distinguished from one another.


When dealing with the term damage potential, it should also be noted that this is used with different degrees of definition as follows:

  • in the strictest sense, it only includes the economic stocks that can be measured in monetary terms
  • in a slightly wider version also the economic value-added flows that can be measured in monetary terms
  • In the next expansion, the risk to life and limb will be included (number of people affected, mostly without evaluation in monetary terms)
  • in addition, the parts of assets that cannot be expressed in monetary terms (usually summarized as intangible values) can also be considered
  • In the broadest form, other damage or damage costs are also included, in particular for disaster relief, damage repair, damage compensation, etc.

Web links

www.dwa.de DWA (German Association for Water Management, Sewage and Waste) there in particular. DWA topic booklet collection, processing and use of flood damage information, Hennef, 2008