Application of GIS and AHP-Based Integrated Methodology for Mapping and Characterizing Socioeconomic Vulnerability to Natural Hazards: A Case Study of Southwestern Coastal Bangladesh

Author:- Nur Mohammad, Ha-Mim & Md. Zakir Hossain
Category:- Journal; Year:- 2022
Discipline:- Urban and Rural Planning Discipline
School:- Science, Engineering & Technology School


Southwestern Coastal Bangladesh is well-known for its vulnerability to natural hazards and climate-induced disasters. However, a little initiative is taken by the national and international organizations to analyze the vulnerability condition of this coastal region with consistently undervaluing the importance of socioeconomic factors. Consequently, no detailed vulnerability map is provided, and the ability to plan for effective disaster management is hindered. Additionally, over the past decade, socioeconomic vulnerability assessment has been recognized as an effective and leading tool to analyze the nature and extent of human vulnerability to climate-induced stress and natural hazards. Thus, this study analyzes and characterizes the vulnerability of the southwestern coastal communities considering the major socioeconomic factors that influence spatial vulnerability's differentiated nature. We have selected 20 indicators to construct the socioeconomic vulnerability index under three major components: physical and infrastructural, socio-demographic, and economic components. We have considered census data for all the twenty indicators published by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. Spatial data analysis has been completed by following three major steps: Firstly, the major component-specific index value is generated using “indexing method” and “analytical hierarchy process”; secondly, all the major components value is converted into maps at the local level using geospatial techniques; and thirdly, the overall vulnerability map is produced through integrating all the major components. The results demonstrate the extent of socioeconomic vulnerability as very high (17.8%), high (46.6%), moderate (21.7%), low (11.5%), and very low (2.4%). In general, eastern, central, and southern regions exhibited a higher vulnerability than the northwest part of the study area. This study is crucial for policymakers to make decisions regarding development strategies and to plan for disaster risk reduction by exploring the level and extent of vulnerability at the local level.

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