Vulnerability assessment

Vulnerability is the most complicated component of risk assessment, because the concept of vulnerability has a wide range of interpretations. Multiple definitions and different conceptual frameworks of vulnerability exist. Vulnerability refers to the conditions determined by physical, social, economic and environmental factors or processes, which increase the susceptibility of a community to the impact of hazards. It is the susceptibility to suffer damages or the intrinsic fragility of exposed elements, systems or communities that favours loss when affected by hazard events. It includes also the lack of resilience that influence the capacity to anticipate, cope with, resist, respond to, and recover from the impact of a physical event (

The vulnerability of communities and households can be analyzed in a holistic qualitative manner using a large number of criteria that characterize the physical, social, economic and environmental vulnerability. The importance of each of these indicators is evaluated by assigning weights and combining them using spatial multi-criteria evaluation. Physical vulnerability is evaluated as the interaction between the intensity of the hazard and the type of element-at-risk, making use of so-called vulnerability curves. Vulnerability is multi-dimensional (physical, social, economic, environmental, institutional, and human factors define vulnerability), dynamic (it changes over time), scale-dependent (it can be expressed at different scales from individuals to countries), and site-specific (each location might need its own approach). 

In this project we have made use of so-called Spatial Multi-Criteria Evaluation for the analysis of vulnerability.

More information on the method used for vulnerability assessment.