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Flood vulnerability assessment of donstream area in Mono basin in Yoto district, south-eastern Togo

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par Abravi Essenam KISSI
University of Lome - Master 2014

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2.3. Methodology for Measurement of Vulnerability to Natural Hazards

2.3.1. Theoretical and Conceptual Frameworks of Vulnerability

The different views on vulnerability are displayed in various concepts and frameworks on how to systematize it (Birkmann, 2013, p 41). The measurement of vulnerability requires for a model, which delivers the structure, context and objectives of the analysis (Fekete, 2010). The different concepts and models are essential to the development of methods for measuring and identifying relevant indicators of vulnerability (Downing, 2004).

According to Birkmann (2013, p 62), the different conceptual frameworks can be classified into at least six different schools of thought: (a) school of vulnerability frameworks that is rooted in political economy and particularly addresses issues of the wider political economy, such as root causes, dynamic pressures and unsafe conditions that determine vulnerability. It can be illustrated by , for example, the pressure and release (PAR) model published in Blaikie et al. (1994) and Wisner et al. (2004); (b) school of vulnerability that focus on the notion of coupled human -environmental systems and are linked to a socio-ecological perspective and socio-ecology as research school. The social-ecology perspective compared to political-economy, puts the coupled human-environmental system at the centre of the vulnerability analysis and stresses the transformative qualities of society with regard to nature. It can be represented by the framework developed and published by Turner et al.(2003); (c) school of vulnerability that sees vulnerability and disaster risk assessment from a holistic view. It has tried to develop an integrated explanation of risk and particularly differentiate exposure, susceptibility and societal response capacities. A core element of this approaches is a feedback-loop system that claims that vulnerability is dynamic and that vulnerability assessment cannot be limited to the identification of deficiencies. It can be represented by BBC framework published by Birkmann (2006a); (d) school of vulnerability that emerged within the context of climate change science and adaptation research. It focuses on exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacities as key determinants of vulnerability including physical characteristics of climate change and climate variability. It can be illustrated by (Fussel and Klein, 2006); (e) school of vulnerability that integrates adaptation and coupling processes into a feedback-loop system and process-oriented perspective of vulnerability. It can be illustrated by Move framework published by Birkmann et al. (2013) and finally (f) the school of vulnerability that combines framework of disaster risk research and climate change adaptation represented by the IPCC SREX concept (IPCC, 2012a). It stresses the need to differentiate the physical event from vulnerability in order to maintain the analytic power of the concept vulnerability as a way to show and examine the social construction risk.

Despite the different points of views reveal by the different schools of thought, it is important to acknowledge that they also represent some similarities, such as the understanding that vulnerability is mainly concerned with the preconditions of a society or community that make it liable to experience harm and damage from a given hazard.

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