A Synthesized Vulnerability Assessment: Case Study of Biophysical and Social Vulnerability in Taitung County, Taiwan

Yung-Jaan LEE


Strategies and action plans for reducing climate-related disaster risk can be pursued through mitigation and adaptation. In the last ten years, extreme climate events have severely caused flash floods, debris flows, landslides, etc. and have damaged many sectors, including agriculture, infrastructure and health. Since climate change is expected to have continued effects on social functioning and human development, this study proposes a vulnerability assessment framework combining both biophysical and social vulnerability and further carries out synthesized vulnerability analyses to identify vulnerable areas at the county level. Because of its geographical, geological and climatic features, Taiwan is susceptible to earthquakes, typhoons and numerous induced disasters. In many areas of Taiwan, potential hazards include debris flows and flash floods, but these problems are particularly severe in Taitung County. Moreover, the impact of climate change will further cause severe damages and disasters. Therefore, an urgent task for Taitung County is to establish a vulnerability assessment framework as a policy tool to identify not only the regions needing attention but also the hotspots in which efforts could be made to reduce vulnerability. To analyze the biophysical vulnerability of Taitung, this study examined hazards in seven maps from Taiwan’s National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction (NCDR) and made some adjustments according to local characteristics. Statistical data from the NCDR regarding social vulnerability were also used. Finally, GIS overlaying technique was used to perform a synthesized analysis of biophysical vulnerability and social vulnerability for each township.


Climate change, Biophysical vulnerability, Social vulnerability, Synthesized vulnerability


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