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

par Abravi Essenam KISSI
University of Lome - Master 2014

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2.4. The Index Approach to Study Vulnerability

In literature, quantitative assessment of vulnerability is usually done by constructing a vulnerability index. This index is based on several sets of indicators that result in the vulnerability of a region. It produces a single number, which can be used to compare different regions. Literature on index number construction specifies that there should be good internal correlations between these indicators.

Different methodologies have been used to compute a Flood Vulnerability Index (FVI). All FVI equations have factors for exposure to hazard, sensitivity or susceptibility of the people, and their resilience or coping capacity to the hazard. Vulnerability is the result of the combination of exposure, susceptibility and resilience.

Atkins et al. (1998) studied the methodology for measurement of vulnerability and constructed a suitable composite vulnerability index for developing countries and island states. Their composite vulnerability indices were presented for a sample of 110 developing countries for which appropriate data were available. The index suggests that small states are especially prone to vulnerable events when compared to large states. Among the small states, Cape Verde and Trinidad and Tobago are estimated to suffer relatively low levels of vulnerability and majority of the states estimated to experience relatively high vulnerability; and the states like Tonga, Antigua and Barbados being more vulnerable to external economic and environmental factors.

Chris Easter (2000) constructed a vulnerability index for the commonwealth countries, which is based on two principles. First, the impact of external shocks over which the country was affected and, second, the resilience of a country to withstand and recover from such shocks. The analysis used a sample of 111 developing countries of which 37 small and 74 large for which relevant data were available. The results indicate that among the 50 most vulnerable countries, 33 were small states with 27 being least developed among them.

Moss et al. (2001) identified ten proxies for five sectors of climate sensitivities which are settlement sensitivity, food security, human health sensitivity, ecosystem sensitivity and water availability. They equally established seven proxies for three sectors of coping and adaptive capacity: economic capacity, human resources and environmental or natural resources capacity. These proxies are aggregated into sectoral indicators, sensitivity indicators and coping or adaptive capacity indicators and finally help in constructing vulnerability resilience indicators to climate change.

Dolan and Walker (2003) discussed the concept of vulnerability and presented a multi-scaled, integrated framework for assessing vulnerabilities and adaptive capacity. Determinants of adaptive capacity include access to and distribution of wealth, technology and information, risk perception and awareness, social capital and critical institutional frameworks to address climate change hazards. These are identified at the individual and community levels and situated within larger regional, national and international settings.

Katharine Vincent (2004) created an index to empirically assess relative levels of social vulnerability to climate change-induced variations in water availability that allow cross-country comparison in Africa. An aggregated index of social vulnerability was formed through the weighted average of five composite sub indices, which are economic well-being and stability, demographic structure, institutional and strength of public infrastructure, global interconnectivity and dependence on natural resources. The results indicate that using the current data, Niger, Sierra-Leone, Burundi, Madagascar and Burkina-Faso are the most vulnerable countries in Africa.

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