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Chapter 2: EXPOSURE & VULNERABILITY  Education – schools are encouraged to make preventive actions such as earthquake drills as

part of their regular activities, at least once every quarter.


The severity pf the impacts of disasters and other extreme weather and climate events depends
strongly on the level of vulnerability and exposure to these events. Trends in vulnerability and  Nature of society – In highly centralized government structures, efficient emergency response
exposure are major drivers of changes in disaster risk and of impacts when risk is realized. may be the result of careful planning and training of personnel. However, it can also lead to
bureaucracy and a lack of autonomous decision making, which slows down distribution of
Elements Exposed to Hazard relief goods and emergency response efforts in case of extreme emergency.
Exposure refers to the “elements at risk” from a natural or man-made hazard event. Elements  Understanding of the area – recent migrants are likely to struggle to cope with hazard effects
at risk include the following: compared to established population. Understanding the area is a salient factor to be
1. Human beings considered in Disaster Preparedness Planning.
2. Dwellings or households and communities
3. Buildings and structures 3. Community Preparedness
4. Public facilities and infrastructure assets  Building Codes – rigorous and applied building codes protect most buildings from collapsing
5. Public transport system during earthquakes. This should be seriously considered by the government in the issuance
6. Agricultural commodities of building permits and licenses for land development.
7. Environmental assets
 Scientific monitoring and early warning systems – established monitoring system can prepare
Elements at risk can also refer to intangible elements such as economic activities and people for the onslaught of any kind of disaster.
infrastructure networks.
 Communication networks – countries with good quality and widespread communication
What is vulnerability? networks allow message to be quickly shared. Communication Plan is a very salient component
Vulnerability is defined as “the characteristics and circumstances of a community, system or asset of Emergency Planning that should not be left out.
that make it susceptible to the damaging effects of a hazard.” As indicated by United Nations
International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), “there are many aspects of vulnerability arising  Emergency planning – preparation is the key element of prevention. Preparation for a disaster
from various physical, social, economic, and environmental factors. Examples may include poor design is embodied in an Emergency Plan.
and construction of buildings, inadequate protection of assets, lack of public information and
4. Dealing with after-effects
awareness, limited official recognition of risks and preparedness measures, and disregard for wise
 Insurance cover – disasters, like earthquakes and typhoons, normally inflict damages to life,
environmental management.”
property and even to environmental sources of living. Part of the preparation, individuals
purchase insurance policies to mitigate their losses, thus preparing them better for similar
Reasons Why Certain Sectors of Society are More Vulnerable to Disaster than Others
future events.
Vulnerability can be seen as the result of a process in which various different things can cause a
population to be more vulnerable. These can be split into demographic and socio-economic. They  Emergency personnel – these are trained for community preparedness. The availability of such
can also be discussed through the level of community preparedness and the ability of a community personnel will vary depending of the time of day and location of the hazard event.
to manage the after effects of a hazard event.
 Aid request – outside help in the form of humanitarian aid is necessary during a disaster.
1. Demographic factors However, it should be fast and efficient. Inefficiency and mismanagement of aids, especially
 Population Density – the more dense the population, the more efficient a response should be, foreign aids, will possibly result to further deaths and loss of property.
considering the number of people that might be affected by a disaster.
Vulnerability to Specific Hazards
 Age of Population – very old and very young populations are less mobile and able to respond There are many aspects of vulnerability, arising from various physical, social, economic, and
to hazard events well. This makes them more vulnerable compared to others, and this requires environmental factors. Example may include:
more attention from the government and other support agencies.  Poor design and construction of buildings and other infrastructures;
 Distribution of Population – regardless of density, populations may be distributed differently  Inadequate protection measures of assets;
within the hazard area, e.g. elderly people on lower floors of apartment buildings, or  Lack of public information and awareness;
concentrations of highly vulnerable people in poorer areas of a city.  Limited official recognition of risks and preparedness measures, and
 Disregard for wise environment management
2. Socio-economic Factors
 Wealth – low income populations are less likely to be well-prepared. Part of preparation is ADPC further emphasized that vulnerability varies significantly within community and over time.
having a Survival Kit that includes tools to be used, emergency food stock and water that
could last for at least 3-5 days.
According to UNISDR, there are four (4) main types of vulnerability: The left side of the Triagram shows the different natural hazards that might occur in an area at any given
1. Physical vulnerability may be determined by aspects such as population density levels, remoteness period of time. The base of the triagram indicates the different elements exposed to hazard/disaster. On
of a settlement, the site, design and materials used for critical infrastructure and for housing United the right side, factors and elements of vulnerability are presented.
Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR).
Philippine Exposure and Vulnerabilities to Natural Disasters
2. Social vulnerability refers to the inability of people, organizations, and societies to withstand According to a report, eight of 10 world cities most exposed to natural hazards are in the Philippines and
adverse impacts to hazards due to characteristics inherent in social interactions, institutions and more than half of the 100 cities most exposed to earthquakes, storms and other disasters are in four Asian
systems of cultural values. It is linked to the level of well-being of individuals, communities, and nations, according to research (Philippine Star, 2014).
society. It includes aspects related to levels of literacy and education, the existence of peace and
security, access to basic human rights, systems of good governance, social equity, positive The study, published by risk analysis firm Verisk Malecroft, analyzed the threat posed by storms, floods,
traditional values, customs and ideological beliefs and overall collective organizational systems earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, volcanoes and landslides in more than 1,300 cities.
(UNISDR).
The study found that the 10 cities most at risk are Port Vila in Vanuatu followed by Tuguegarao in
3. Economic vulnerability – the level of vulnerability is highly dependent upon the economic status Cagayan, Lucena in Quezon province, (4) Manila, (5) San Fernando in Pampanga, (6) Cabanatuan
of individuals, communities and nations. The poor are usually more vulnerable to disasters because in Nueva Ecija, (7) Batangas, (8) Taipei, (9) San Carlos (The report did not indicate which province in
they lack the resources to build sturdy structures and put other engineering measures in place to the Philippines but most likely in Pangasinan) and (10) Naga in Bicol Region.
protect themselves from being negatively impacted by disasters.
The study also found that of the 100 cities with the greatest exposure to natural hazards, 21 are in the
4. Environmental vulnerability – natural resource depletion and resource degradation are key
Philippines, 16 in China, 11 in Japan, and 8 in Bangladesh.
aspects of environmental vulnerability. This is one aspect that both communities and government
must be sensitive about. Mitigation measures like reforestation and natural resources protection
The following bullet statements explain why the Philippines is vulnerable to natural disasters specifically
and conservation must be undertaken to reduce natural disaster risk and vulnerability.
from the effects of Climate Change
 The Philippines lies in the Pacific typhoon belt and we are visited by an average of 20 typhoons
Elements at Risk and Exposed to Hazards
every year.
 The rugged nature of our landscape makes our communities very vulnerable to landslides,
Risk Factors – risk signifies the possibility of adverse effects in the future. It is derived from the interaction
mudflows and other disasters.
of social and environmental processes, from the combination of physical hazards and the vulnerabilities of
 The Philippine sis an archipelagic country with many small islands.
exposed elements. The following is a discussion of the three factors of risk presented in a Triagram.
 Many of our areas are also at or below sea level, and this makes us vulnerable to flooding and
worst, inundation with rise in sea level.
The diagram illustrates the concept of risk which combines an understanding of the likelihood of a hazardous
 With one of the longest coastlines in the world at 32,400 kilometers, we have many areas that are
event occurring with an assessment of its impact where:
vulnerable to storm surges.
 The Philippines is still a primarily agricultural and fishing economy. Disruptions in agricultural and
fishery production and destruction of our ecosystems will have devastating effects on our economy
and food security.
 Natural hazard risk is compounded in the Philippines by poor institutional and societal capacity to
manage, respond and recover from natural hazard events.
 The Philippines is considered “high risk” in terms of the country’s ability to manage and mitigate
the impacts of natural hazard and in part due to “entrenched corruption and high levels of poverty”
(Rappler, 2014).
 Aside from being at risk to typhoons, the Philippines is also at risk to volcanic eruptions (we have
active volcanoes), quakes (several fault lines were identified) and floods (we have denuded
mountains).