Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Fall 2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Integrated Science and Technology


Louis F. Cassar

Elisabeth Conrad

Bob Kolvoord


All coastal areas around the globe are vulnerable to a series of potential hazards at different degrees depending on location, altitude above sea level, geomorphological features and socio-economic factors, including demography, human settlement and infrastructural development. Since the 1990s a major effort in developing appropriate methodologies and guidelines to assess coastal vulnerability has been made. Of significant importance, the coast of Gozo embraces both natural and anthropogenic features that occupy a relatively small area. Consequently, coastal vulnerability by multiple coastal hazards is a fact due to the topography of the island, overpopulation in some coastal locations, and intensive coastal development and accompanying infrastructure. In the light of these threats the main aim of this research is to investigate coastal vulnerability relating to five coastal hazards, namely, tsunami, storm surge, sea level rise, flooding and landslide, while at the same time identifying areas likely to be at high risk. Varied data collection techniques are used to gather data from several stakeholders while visual analysis techniques are utilised to geographically map coastal risk zones. Research findings show that low lying coastlines appear to be at high risk and are vulnerable to multiple hazards. In addition, the local population in Gozo appears to have scant knowledge on the subject along with a lack of awareness and preparedness. In turn, several recommendations, which aim at creating a sustainable approach towards coastal vulnerability and hazards, are proposed. These recommendations aim at helping decision makers towards a better risk management approach for Gozo.