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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Given the growing impacts of floods in developing countries, we assessed the thematic and composite social and health vulnerability to floods for the entire Bangladesh. Tailored vulnerability, weighted by flood forecast and satellite inundation, could predict the massive impacts of the Aug 2017 flood event. This approach has benefits and practicality with the potential to promote targeted and coordinated disaster management and health practices.
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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2020-392
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2020-392

  01 Dec 2020

01 Dec 2020

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Predicting social and health vulnerability to floods in Bangladesh

Donghoon Lee1,2, Hassan Ahmadul3, Jonathan Patz4, and Paul Block1 Donghoon Lee et al.
  • 1Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin, USA
  • 2Climate Hazards Center, Department of Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara, California, USA
  • 3Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, The Hague, the Netherlands
  • 4Global Health Institute, Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment, and Department of Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin, USA

Abstract. Floods are the most common and damaging natural disaster in Bangladesh, and the effects of floods on public health have increased significantly in recent decades, particularly among lower socio-economic populations. Assessments of social vulnerability on flood-induced health outcomes typically focus on local to regional scales; a notable gap remains in comprehensive, large-scale assessments that may foster disaster management practices. In this study, socio-economic, health, and coping capacity vulnerability and composite social-health vulnerability are assessed using both equal-weight and principal component approaches using 26 indicators across Bangladesh. Results indicate that vulnerable zones exist in the northwest riverine areas, northeast floodplains, and southwest region, potentially affecting 42 million people (26 % of total population). Subsequently, the vulnerability measures are linked to flood forecast and satellite inundation information to evaluate their potential for predicting actual flood impact indices (distress, damage, disruption, and health) based on the immense August 2017 flood event. Overall, the forecast-based equally weighted vulnerability measures perform best. Specifically, socio-economic and coping capacity vulnerability measures strongly align with the distress, disruption, and health impacts records observed. Additionally, the forecast-based composite social-health vulnerability index also correlates well with the impact indices, illustrating its utility in identifying predominantly vulnerable regions. These findings suggest the benefits and practicality of this approach to assess both thematic and comprehensive spatial vulnerabilities, with the potential to support targeted and coordinated public disaster management and health practices.

Donghoon Lee et al.

 
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Donghoon Lee et al.

Donghoon Lee et al.

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Short summary
Given the growing impacts of floods in developing countries, we assessed the thematic and composite social and health vulnerability to floods for the entire Bangladesh. Tailored vulnerability, weighted by flood forecast and satellite inundation, could predict the massive impacts of the Aug 2017 flood event. This approach has benefits and practicality with the potential to promote targeted and coordinated disaster management and health practices.
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