A number of buildings were damaged by the 2011 Great East Japan tsunami in the Tohoku area. The research objective is to determine the significant predictor variables of the level of building damage. This paper used detailed data on damaged buildings in Kesennuma City, Japan, collected by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT). The tested explanatory parameters included the inundation depth, number of floors, volume of the building, debris flow, structural material, and function of the building. Through multinomial logistic regression, the results found that the number of floors was significantly associated with the damage level; the inundation depth, structural material (reinforced concrete and masonry), and function of the building (commercial facility, transportation/storage facility, and public facility) were partially associated with the damage level. This study can contribute to academic research by assessing the contribution of different variables to observed damage data by applying statistical analysis, as well as the practical contribution of providing an examination of the predominant factors driving tsunami damage to buildings.
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