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close this bookNatural Disasters in South East Asia and Bangladesh - Vulnerability Risks and Consequences (Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters - International Center for Training Exchanges in the Geosciences, 1998, 83 p.)
close this folderCONCLUSIONS
View the documentPart I - The consequences of natural disasters in South East Asia and Bangladesh
View the documentPart II - Natural hazards and disasters: Distribution and frequencies
View the documentPart III - Assessing vulnerability criteria and global risk levels
View the documentPart IV - Synoptic assessment of natural hazards on a national scale

Part III - Assessing vulnerability criteria and global risk levels

The analysis of the vulnerability of the countries in the region was carried out using a selection of socio-economic indicators (wealth, health and education) and demographic criteria (density, population growth). The juxtaposition of these two series of indicators allowed to establish a classification of the countries in terms of vulnerability though this classification remains a global one. The classification is given below:

* All the indicators for Bangladesh are unfavourable and it is therefore the most vulnerable country.

* Cambodia is mainly penalised by the socio-economic factors.

* Laos and Myanmar are vulnerable mainly because of the socio-economical indicators though to a lesser degree than those above.

* Vietnam and the Philippines seem to be slightly less vulnerable than Laos and Myanmar. Vietnam is mainly vulnerable because of its weak socio-economic indicators; the Philippines because of demographic criteria.

* The majority of the indicators for Thailand are distinctly more favourable than those of the other countries. It is therefore the least vulnerable country.

Vulnerability and natural hazards data have been crossed and used to define global risk levels. This was done by considering the relative variety and intensities of the natural hazards, the natural disaster frequencies, and the socio-economic and demographic criteria of vulnerability. Three groups of countries in decreasing order of vulnerability have been determined and are given below:

* The maximal risk level is reached by Bangladesh and the Philippines. The situation in these two countries is however distinctly different. In the Philippines, the risks are a result of all the different hazard types (however cyclones and floods have a dominating frequency), of their high intensity, past or potential, and of a relatively high vulnerability. On the other hand, the destructive phenomena are less varied in Bangladesh (essentially of hydro-meteorological origin) and their frequency slightly low, however the vulnerability is very high. This explains largely the greater number of deaths and affected people in this country in the past decades despite the relatively lower number of events registered.

* Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia all have a high risk level but this value is clearly lower than that of the Philippines and Bangladesh. Here again, a slight difference is to be introduced. The variabilities of the hazards are notably more penalising for Myanmar and Vietnam; the two other countries however show a slightly higher vulnerability. In all these countries the main risk comes from hydro-meteorological hazards even though Vietnam and even more Myanmar are concerned also by earthquake risks.

* Thailand is different from the other countries by its relatively lower risk level (the risk is referred to as being moderately high). The destructive phenomena, floods in particular, are not rare in this country. Cyclones occasionally might affect the country. The degree of exposure to natural hazards is thus globally comparable to that of the countries in the previous group. On the other hand, the level of vulnerability is clearly much lower as shown by most of the selected socio-economic and demographic indicators. This implies that the ability to respond to risks or crises or at least an ability to absorb the consequences of disasters is appreciably higher here than in the other countries.