Vulnerability refers to thesusceptibility of aperson, group, society or systemto physical or emotional injuryor attack.
Vulnerability to DisasterIt is determined by a combination of severalfactors, including awareness of hazards, the condition of human settlements and infrastructure, public policy and administration, The wealth of a given society and organized abilities in all fields of disaster and risk management.
Cities are more vulnerable becausethere are higher concentrations of people atrisk; at the same time they are theeconomic engine so the impact of thedamage is greater. Physical infrastructure, land-planningand the size of informal settlements are thebiggest factors determining the impact ofdisasters on cities.
Factors of VulnerabilityAnderson and Woodrow (1989) grouped vulnerabilities intothree categories: •Physical/material vulnerability: •inherent weakness of the built environment •lack of access to resources, especially of poor section of the population •Social/organizational vulnerability: •Inherent weakness in the coping mechanism •lack of resiliency, lack of commitment •Attitudinal/motivational vulnerability: •Fatalism, ignorance, and low level of awareness4
The likelihood of disaster increases when the communitys builtenvironment i.e., buildings and lifeline systems—or communityinfrastructure is comprised of the following vulnerable elements (Hays etal., 1998): Older residential and commercial buildings and infrastructure constructed of unreinforced masonry that have no lateral resistance New buildings and infrastructure without adequate enforcement Buildings in low-lying or coastal areas Schools and other buildings that have been built to low construction standards. Communication and control centers those are concentrated in one area. Bridges, overhead crossings withsout lateral forces
Urbanization: •Cities with populations greater than 10 million are called megacities In 1960, only one city – Shanghai had a population of 10 million. •World population 6.1 billion in mid-2000, annual rate of 1.3 per cent • By 2050, world population could be as high as 10.9 billion In 2000, 450 cities worldwide, each shelter a population of morethan I million. Of these 50 cities have a population greater than 3.5million and 25 cities have populations greater than 8 million. About 50% of the world’s largest cities are situated along major earthquake belts or tropical cyclone tracks
According to UN-HABITAT’s observation ―that between 2000-2010 for the first time in our history more people will live in urban than in rural settlements. ―By 2030, UNHABITAT estimate that 27 countries will account for 75 per cent of theWorld’s urban population – with all but seven in less developed countries. Mosturban citizens live in settlements of 500,000 people or less with limited capacity torespond to disaster risk. Larger cities – especially mega-cities with more than 10 million inhabitants like Manila, Shanghai, Dhaka, Karachi, Tokyo or Los Angeles – have more resources but depend on complex life support systems which can lead to small events triggering large scale disasters of potentially global significance
Poverty & inequality: Poverty limits choices for those at risk and in cities with limited financesAccording to UN-HABITAT •Worldwide, an estimated 1 billion people live in slums,In many cities more than half the population lives in slums. This is the case inKolkata, India, where 66 per cent of the city’s 4.5 million inhabitants live in slumsAccording to Red Cross Report ―About one billion slum dwellers in developing countries are vulnerable todisasters because they live in congested and poorly built houses without emergencyservices,‖
•Nonprofit research group Geo Hazards International. 1. Kathmandu, Nepal 2. Istanbul, Turkey, 3. Delhi, India, 4. Quito, Ecuador 5. Manila, Philippines, 6. Islamabad/Rawalpindi, Pakistan, 7. San Salvador, El Salvador, 8. Mexico City, Mexico 9. Izmir, Turkey 10. Jakarta, Indonesia,
Strategies for development policies to reduce vulnerability to disastersIncreasing public awareness and public participationFostering better understanding and knowledge of the causes of disastersCapacity building and strengthening of institutional arrangements at alllevelsCreating and implementing comprehensive urban developmentstrategiesGlobal, regional, national and local early warning systemsDevelopment projects should take into account risk assessment