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Local Disaster Vulnerability Analysis: An Approach to Identify Communities
Abstract and Figures
Extreme weather events, such as floods and rainstorms, can turn into serious threats due to their unpredictable nature and scale. Depending on their magnitude, vulnerable communities may experience substantial losses, especially those residing in riparian and deltaic ecosystems. Despite the significant progress in disaster risk governance over recent years, the implementation of effective resilience plans at the local level remains a challenge. This is often due to the uncertainties of addressing key variations between communities, such as their hydrogeomorphological surroundings, differences in community needs and capacities, and unpredictable local atmospheric conditions. Generalized weather forecasting systems and imported response plans for instance, cannot always be adopted or understood in depth by low-income communities. In contrast, high-income communities and their assets are typically better protected through the use of technology and flood prevention infrastructure. Focusing on local-scale action plans can help address this imbalance, especially when both community and site variations are taken into consideration. The question then becomes, is it possible to develop effective disaster vulnerability analysis tailored to local needs and capabilities? This study suggests a metric that focuses on community characteristics, capacity and needs criteria. These criteria highlight elements that should be improved in order to increase community resilience and capacity. Knowing the weaknesses and strengths of vulnerable populations allows appropriate modifications within the suggested disaster response plans. The research introduces a method for identifying community vulnerability being developed for the “Hydropower for Disaster Resilience Applications (HYDRA)” research project, a joint initiative of Humanitarian and Development Research Initiative (HADRI), Western Sydney University, Australia and UNESCO Chair on Conservation and Ecotourism of Riparian and Deltaic Ecosystems (Con-E-Ect), International Hellenic University, Greece.
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