Spatial distribution of natural hazards and their proximity to heritage sites: Case of the United Arab Emirates

M. M. Yagoub, Abdulla Amed Al Yammahi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) investigated World Heritage sites and listed some in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Heritage sites in any country have important cultural and economic value. However, many of the sites are subjected to potential impact by natural hazards, considering their age and the effects of climate. In the interest of reducing these impacts, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015–2030) and the World Heritage Committee called for a detailed hazard assessment. This research falls within this assessment scope by applying remote sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS) methods to assess the spatial distribution of natural hazards and their proximity to heritage sites in the UAE. Results show that heritage sites in the northeastern UAE are more vulnerable to earthquakes, floods, and sea-level rise. Still, risk varies depending on elevation and the proximity to fault lines and the coastline. In the western UAE, the majority of heritage sites are prone to the effects of desertification and sand encroachment. This study is large-scale in nature, and specific vulnerability assessments for each heritage site are beyond the scope of this paper. The database, methodology, and output from this research could be useful for many organizations, such as those working in the fields of culture and heritage, tourism, disaster management, and urban planning. Compilation of a GIS database centering upon the heritage sites in the UAE is considered a major step forward for future studies related to the sites. The GIS database is available for interested users upon request.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102827
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • GIS
  • Heritage sites
  • Natural hazards
  • Remote sensing
  • UAE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Safety Research
  • Geology


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