Social Vulnerability and Urban Risk Assessment to Disaster: A Case Study of Udonthani Province

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Sutee Anantsuksomsri
Nij Tontisirin


Over the past few decades, the province of Udonthani, one of the major socioeconomic centers in the northeastern region of Thailand, has rapidly urbanized and expanded economically, socially, and spatially. This urban growth, however, has extended across several political municipalities whose levels of coping capacities for abrupt events such as natural disasters can greatly vary. Similarly, the areas affected by natural disasters are not limited by political boundaries. Thus, understanding socio-economic and physical factors determining urban risks is essential for planning of economic and urban development in the future. The objective of this study is to examine the social vulnerability to disasters, focusing on flooding, through a spatial social vulnerability index (SoVI) and assess factors of flood risks in Udonthani urbanized areas, taking into account explicitly spatial factors into the analysis.

The urban risk assessment reveals that factors, in terms of physical hazard, exposure, and capacity, contributing to the risks of flood in Udonthani. These factors include a ratio of water retention areas, economic activity intensity, a density of commercial activities, building density, SoVI, and a ratio of households’ insurance and health insurance. The results of spatial analysis of SoVI indicate that factors contributing to social vulnerability include household characteristics, housing characteristics, household debts, community involvement, and types of businesses. The results also show that the areas outside the boundary of the City of Udonthani have higher risks of flood geographically and socioeconomically.


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