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From Risk to Resilience #2: Pinning Down Vulnerability: From Narratives to Numbers

Authors: Daanish Mustafa; Sara Ahmed; The Risk to Resilience

Social vulnerability analyses have typically relied upon narratives to capture the nuances of the concept. While narratives have enhanced our understanding of the multiple drivers of vulnerability, they have had limited influence on hazards and climate adaptation policy. This is partially a function of the different needs and goals of the policy and research communities. The former prioritizes generalized quantitative information, while the latter is more concerned with capturing complexity. A theoretically driven and empirically tested quantitative vulnerability and capacities index (VCI) for use at the local scale is presented to help connect vulnerability research and policy. There are four versions of the index for use in rural and urban contexts at the household and community levels. There can be an infinite number of drivers of vulnerability,but the VCI draws upon 12 indicators to represent material, institutional and attitudinal aspects of differential vulnerability and capacities.

Citation:  Mustafa, D., Ahmed, S., Saroch, E., & Bell, H. (2011). Pinning down vulnerability: From narratives to numbers. Disasters, 35, 62-86. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7717.2010.01193.x

Funded By: UK Department for International Development (DfID); National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA); Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC).