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What is Vulnerability?


Vulnerability may be defined as "The extent to which a community, structure, services or geographic area is likely to eva be damaged or disrupted by the impact of particular hazard, on account of their nature, construction and proximity to hazardous terrains or a disaster prone area’.

Vulnerabilities can be categorized into physical and socio-economic vulnerability.

Physical Vulnerability: It includes notions of who and what may be damaged or destroyed by natural hazard such as earthquakes or floods. It is based on the physical condition of people and elements at risk, such as buildings, infrastructure etc; and their proximity, location and nature of the hazard. It also relates to the technical capability of building and structures to resist the forces acting upon them during a hazard event.

Unchecked growth of settlements in unsafe areas ex-poses the people to the hazard. In case of an earthquake or landslide the ground may fail and the houses on the top may topple or slide and affect the settlements at the lower level even if they are designed well for earthquake forces.

Socio-economic Vulnerability: the degree to which a population is affected by a hazard will not merely lie in the physical components of vulnerability but also on the socioeconomic conditions. The socio-economic condition of the people also determines the intensity of the impact. For example, people who are poor and living in the sea coast don't have the money to construct strong concrete houses. They are generally at risk and loose their shelters whenever

there is strong wind or cyclone. Because of their poverty they too are not able to rebuild their houses.

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