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Article
Publication date: 20 April 2012

David McEntire

The following article seeks to expand comprehension of the concept of vulnerability in order to promote further scholarship in this area and provide policy guidance for…

Abstract

Purpose

The following article seeks to expand comprehension of the concept of vulnerability in order to promote further scholarship in this area and provide policy guidance for practitioners.

Design/methodology/approach

Various findings from the academic literature pertaining to vulnerability are discussed in order to generate a more holistic understanding of this key factor of disaster.

Findings

This exposition defines vulnerability, illustrates the causes of vulnerability, identifies those who may be vulnerable to disasters, and suggests ways to reduce vulnerability.

Research limitations/implications

Because this paper offers a preliminary view that both includes and goes beyond the traditional social vulnerability school, additional research on this matter will undoubtedly be required. However, it is hoped that the breadth and complexity of challenges we are currently facing will be made manifest in this discussion.

Originality/value

This paper extends the author's prior work in this area and reinforces the need to give greater priority to the concept of vulnerability in disaster research and emergency management.

Details

Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal, vol. 21 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0965-3562

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 21 June 2011

David McEntire

This paper aims to expand comprehension of the concept of vulnerability in order to promote further scholarship in this area and provide policy guidance for practitioners.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to expand comprehension of the concept of vulnerability in order to promote further scholarship in this area and provide policy guidance for practitioners.

Design/methodology/approach

Various findings from the academic literature pertaining to vulnerability are discussed in order to generate a more holistic understanding of this key factor of disaster.

Findings

This exposition defines vulnerability, illustrates the causes of vulnerability, identifies those who may be vulnerable to disasters, and suggests ways to reduce vulnerability.

Research limitations/implications

Because this paper offers a preliminary view that both includes and goes beyond the traditional social vulnerability school, additional research on this matter will undoubtedly be required. However, it is hoped that the breadth and complexity of challenges being faced currently will be made manifest in this discussion.

Originality/value

This paper extends the author's prior work in this area and reinforces the need to give greater priority to the concept of vulnerability in disaster research and emergency management.

Details

Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal, vol. 20 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0965-3562

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 18 February 2021

Rafael Renteria, Mario Chong, Irineu de Brito Junior, Ana Luna and Renato Quiliche

This paper aims to design a vulnerability assessment model considering the multidimensional and systematic approach to disaster risk and vulnerability. This model serves…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to design a vulnerability assessment model considering the multidimensional and systematic approach to disaster risk and vulnerability. This model serves to both risk mitigation and disaster preparedness phases of humanitarian logistics.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey of 27,218 households in Pueblo Rico and Dosquebradas was conducted to obtain information about disaster risk for landslides, floods and collapses. We adopted a cross entropy-based approach for the measure of disaster vulnerability (Kullback–Leibler divergence), and a maximum-entropy estimation for the reconstruction of risk a priori categorization (logistic regression). The capabilities approach of Sen supported theoretically our multidimensional assessment of disaster vulnerability.

Findings

Disaster vulnerability is shaped by economic, such as physical attributes of households, and health indicators, which are in specific morbidity indicators that seem to affect vulnerability outputs. Vulnerability is heterogeneous between communities/districts according to formal comparisons of Kullback–Leibler divergence. Nor social dimension, neither chronic illness indicators seem to shape vulnerability, at least for Pueblo Rico and Dosquebradas.

Research limitations/implications

The results need a qualitative or case study validation at the community/district level.

Practical implications

We discuss how risk mitigation policies and disaster preparedness strategies can be driven by empirical results. For example, the type of stock to preposition can vary according to the disaster or the kind of alternative policies that can be formulated on the basis of the strong relationship between morbidity and disaster risk.

Originality/value

Entropy-based metrics are not widely used in humanitarian logistics literature, as well as empirical data-driven techniques.

Details

Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-6747

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Book part
Publication date: 25 November 2019

Helen Forbes-Mewett and Kien Nguyen-Trung

Since the late 1980s, social theorists championed for the birth of a new era, in which societies were increasingly exposed to growing global risks. The presence of…

Abstract

Since the late 1980s, social theorists championed for the birth of a new era, in which societies were increasingly exposed to growing global risks. The presence of increasing risks including natural disasters, technological errors, terrorist attacks, nuclear wars and environmental degradation suggests that human beings are becoming increasingly vulnerable. Therefore, an understanding of vulnerability is crucial. Vulnerability is often considered as the potential to suffer from physical attacks. This approach, however, has limited capacity to explain many forms of suffering including not only physical aspects, but also mental, social, economic, political and social dimensions. This chapter draws on the vulnerability literature to present an overarching framework for the book. It starts with an outline of the concept origins, then discusses its relationship with the risk society thesis before forming conceptualisation. The chapter then points out the key similarities and differences between vulnerability and other concepts such as risk, disaster, poverty, security and resilience. The authors rework an existing “security” framework to develop a new definition of the concept of vulnerability. Finally, the authors look into the root causes and the formation of vulnerability within social systems.

Details

Vulnerability in a Mobile World
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-912-6

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Article
Publication date: 2 December 2019

Olasunkanmi Habeeb Okunola

The purpose of this paper is to identify and analyze indicators for measuring residents’ level of social and physical vulnerability to human-induced disasters in disaster

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify and analyze indicators for measuring residents’ level of social and physical vulnerability to human-induced disasters in disaster-prone communities of Lagos, Nigeria.

Design/methodology/approach

The study adopted the quantitative research method. Questionnaires were administered to household heads in three disaster-prone communities of Lagos, Nigeria. Using systematic random sampling technique, household heads’ opinions were sampled in 10 per cent of the buildings. This effort culminated in the sampling of 288 household heads in the three communities.

Findings

The study identified flood, fire outbreak and environmental pollution as the most prevalence disasters in the communities. State of infrastructure, housing conditions and residents’ socioeconomic characteristics were identified as the major factors influencing residents’ level of vulnerability to disasters in the communities.

Research limitations/implications

The study could be strengthened by looking at other disaster-prone communities in Nigeria with different cultural and political settings. Hence, the view presented in this paper may not be considered generalizable to other parts of the country with different cultural settings.

Originality/value

To build resilient communities in cities of developing countries, the paper of this nature is important to determine factors influencing residents’ level of vulnerability to disasters. This will aid in strengthening community-disaster preparedness in these countries.

Details

International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1759-5908

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 26 February 2010

David McEntire, Colleen Gilmore Crocker MPH and Ekong Peters

The purpose of this paper is to review current theoretical approaches in disaster studies and put forward a model of vulnerability that incorporates physical science…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review current theoretical approaches in disaster studies and put forward a model of vulnerability that incorporates physical science, engineering, and social science research.

Design/methodology/approach

A comprehensive model of vulnerability is proposed, which includes both liabilities and capabilities from the physical and social environments. The model is related to risk, susceptibility, resistance, and resilience to vulnerability and disasters.

Findings

This review assesses current concepts as guides for disaster management and suggests that a more complete view of vulnerability is more apt to generate inclusive and integrated disaster policies.

Research limitations/implications

Since this model is relatively new, its applicability needs to be examined further in terms of the phases of disasters and the many stakeholders involved in emergency management.

Practical implications

The holistic model of vulnerability in this paper may help emergency managers better understand disasters and devise relevant policies to counter them. The paper underscores the importance of broad and integrated methods for dealing with socially constructed disasters. It is related to environmental, infrastructure, economic, political, cultural, and other variables.

Originality/value

This paper is unique in that it presents four viewpoints of vulnerability and because it applies the proposed model to many different types of disasters.

Details

International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, vol. 1 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1759-5908

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2004

Krishna S. Vatsa

Households are exposed to a wide array of risks, characterized by a known or unknown probability distribution of events. Disasters are one of these risks at the extreme…

Abstract

Households are exposed to a wide array of risks, characterized by a known or unknown probability distribution of events. Disasters are one of these risks at the extreme end. Understanding the nature of these risks is critical to recommending appropriate mitigation measures. A household’s resilience in resisting the negative outcomes of these risky events is indicative of its level of vulnerability. Vulnerability has emerged as the most critical concept in disaster studies, with several attempts at defining, measuring, indexing and modeling it. The paper presents the concept and meanings of risk and vulnerability as they have evolved in different disciplines. Building on these basic concepts, the paper suggests that assets are the key to reducing risk and vulnerability. Households resist and cope with adverse consequences of disasters and other risks through the assets that they can mobilize in face of shocks. Asustainable strategy for disaster reduction must therefore focus on asset‐building. There could be different types of assets, and their selection and application for disaster risk management is necessarily a contextual exercise. The mix of asset‐building strategies could vary from one community to another, depending upon households’ asset profile. The paper addresses the dynamics of assets‐risk interaction, thus focusing on the role of assets in risk management.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 24 no. 10/11
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2001

David A. McEntire

Discusses the nature of disaster and the future of emergency management. After exploring differing historical perspectives of disaster, puts forth a model of vulnerability

Abstract

Discusses the nature of disaster and the future of emergency management. After exploring differing historical perspectives of disaster, puts forth a model of vulnerability and highlights the plethora of factors that contribute to calamitous events. Introduces the concept of invulnerable development as a method of vulnerability management and compares it to other terms that have been proposed as guides for future disaster policy. The central argument to be made is that vulnerability is, or should be, the key concept for disaster scholarship and reduction.

Details

Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0965-3562

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Article
Publication date: 22 February 2011

Eziyi Offia Ibem

The aim of this research is to identify the factors responsible for the inability of authorities in rapidly growing megacities in developing countries to integrate disaster

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this research is to identify the factors responsible for the inability of authorities in rapidly growing megacities in developing countries to integrate disaster risk vulnerability reduction strategies effectively with their development plans.

Design/methodology/approach

The study followed a qualitative research strategy. A survey research approach with pre‐tested questionnaires as key data collection instrument was used in eliciting responses from 135 randomly selected built environment professionals in academics and disaster management practitioners in government and non‐governmental organizations in Lagos Megacity Area, Nigeria.

Findings

A number of factors militating against the adoption of effective disaster vulnerability reduction strategies in the area were identified. The most critical were faltering institutions and governance, weak infrastructure base and a low level of disaster education.

Research limitations/implications

The sample population comprised mainly built environment professionals in academics and disaster managers across the city. Therefore, the views presented in the paper may not be considered generalizable within the context of multiplicity of stakeholders in disaster studies. However, the research presents the perception of experts and key stakeholders in disaster vulnerability reduction in the study area.

Practical implications

The findings can form the basis for addressing these challenges, most particularly in generating and adopting new approaches to policy formulation and implementation by the public and private sectors.

Originality/value

Research on this subject‐matter is very limited in Nigeria. It is, however, very relevant in efforts at addressing the challenges of sustainable development in developing countries from the human and policy dimensions.

Details

Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal, vol. 20 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0965-3562

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Article
Publication date: 25 September 2020

Romulo Delarmente Tagalo

This paper develops a model of social vulnerability. Specifically, it aims to (1) determine the factors of social vulnerability to flood risks and (2) interrogate the…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper develops a model of social vulnerability. Specifically, it aims to (1) determine the factors of social vulnerability to flood risks and (2) interrogate the discursive structure and framing of vulnerability within the local domain of disaster governance.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a descriptive-survey research design mobilized through sequential exploratory mixed method.

Findings

For ordinary people, vulnerability is due to five factors: (1) government inaction, (2) age-based frailty, (3) disability-based social exclusion, (4) weak social capital and (5) material susceptibility. Moreover, there are two patterns of discursive structure surrounding the risk of flooding in Davao del Norte: (1) where Cavendish banana is a favored export commodity of those who are in power, the Pressure-and-Release Model fits within the narrative of land-use changes in the province, and (2) where the local domain of disaster governance frames the DRR as a “hero-villain” normative duality.

Practical implications

At the policy level, the findings should inform the current government practices in development planning to mitigate flood risks, specifically the proposed Philippine National Land-use Act and the pending Bill to create the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Department. Operationally, the “hero-villain” finding challenges the self-awareness of disaster managers and functionaries whose technical trainings inculcated a one-size-fits-all approach to disaster response.

Social implications

The findings support the theory that disaster and disaster risks are socially constructed realities.

Originality/value

This paper teased out the gap between the people's risks perceptions in Davao del Norte and the government's DRR episteme, and it points to power relations that impede its closing.

Details

Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal, vol. 29 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0965-3562

Keywords

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