Received: 15 April 2015 / Accepted: 18 August 2015/ Published online: 29 December 2015
Social vulnerability varies across geography because natural environments, socio-economic conditions, and infrastructure differ spatially.
Typhoon Haiyan highlighted that the combination of exposure to climate-related hazards, underlying socioeconomic conditions and changing socio-economic and demographic characteristics of Tacloban and Ormoc increase the threats of communities to climate-related hazards.
Barangay 88, the hardest hit barangay in Tacloban City with the most number of reported casualties from Typhoon Haiyan, is consistently highest in all factors of vulnerability, recording a large differential vulnerability index relative to other barangays while Barangay Naungan, located along the coast of Ormoc City, got the highest vulnerability index.
While Tacloban City and Ormoc City are examples of looming and varying social vulnerability across barangays (villages), it is important to consider short-term structural mitigation measures and to address the underlying factors of vulnerability targeted at the barangay level.
This study provides an approach for assessing social vulnerability using available census and climate-related hazard data to determine areas for intervention targeted at the barangay level.
The destruction left by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines highlighted not only the exposure of the country but also the underlying vulnerability of barangays (villages) to climate-related hazards. This study utilized Geographic Information System (GIS) to characterize social vulnerability to climate-related hazards of barangays of Tacloban City and Ormoc City using a modified social vulnerability index (SoVI). The SoVIused socio-economic data mainly drawn from census and was computed from eleven indicators influencing sensitivity, adaptive capacity and exposure. Social vulnerability varies spatially across the study areas, where Barangay 88, the worst-hit barangay in Tacloban and Barangay Naungan in Ormoc, recorded the highest vulnerability scores. Significant demographic and socio-economic shifts are likely in both cities, given the population growth and increasing density of settlements already concentrated in hazard-prone barangays. Measures to reducing vulnerability should be a local priority and would require political will for community-based climate action, disaster risk reduction and management, and risk-sensitive land use development. This study provides an approach for assessing social vulnerability using available census and climate-related hazard data to determine areas for intervention at the barangay level.