AbstractPractices for reducing the impacts of floods are becoming more and more advanced, centered on communities and reaching out to vulnerable populations. Vulnerable individuals are characterized by social and economic attributes and by societal dynamics rooted in each community. These indicators can magnify the negative impacts of disasters together with the capacity of each individual to cope with these events. The Social Vulnerability Index (SoVI) provides an empirical basis to compare social differences in various spatial scenarios and for specific environmental hazards. This research shows the application of the SoVI to the floodplain of northern Italy, based on the use of 15 census variables. The chosen study area is of particular interest for the high occurrence of flood events coupled with a high level of human activity, landscape transformations, and an elevated concentration of assets and people. The analysis identified a positive spatial autocorrelation across the floodplain that translates into the spatial detection of vulnerable groups, those that are likely to suffer the most from floods. In a second stage, the output of the index was superimposed on the flood hazard map of the study area to analyze the resulting risk. The Piemonte and Veneto regions contain the main areas prone to flood “social” risk, highlighting the need for a cohesive management approach at all levels to recognize local capacities and increase communication, awareness, and preparedness to mitigate the undesirable effects of such events.
Weather, Climate, and Society – American Meteorological Society
Published: Oct 1, 2017
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