What are the factors that make a community vulnerable?

Vulnerability to floods is a combination of complex, dynamic and interrelated mutually reinforcing conditions that can be divided into three major groups as follows:

Physical/material conditions:

  • Initial well-being, strength and resilience (high mortality rates, malnutrition, disease)
  • Weak infrastructure, such as buildings, sanitation, electricity supply, roads and transportation
  • Occupation in a risky area (insecure/ risk-prone sources of livelihood)
  • Degradation of the environment and inability to protect it

Constitutional/organizational conditions:

  • Lack of leadership, initiative, or organizational structure
  • Lack of or limited access to political power and representation
  • Lack of or poorly resourced national and local institutions
  • Unequal participation in community affairs
  • Inadequate skills and educational background
  • Weak or non-existent social support networks
  • Limited access to outside world

Motivational/attitudinal conditions:

  • Lack of awareness of development issues, rights and obligations
  • Certain beliefs and customs and fatalistic attitudes
  • Heavy dependence on external support

For more information, please refer to “Organizing Community Participation for Flood Management“, Section 2.2.