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Demographics Of Social Vulnerability Essay

832 words - 4 pages

Social vulnerability is “the characteristics of a person or group in terms of their capacity to anticipate, cope with, resist and recover from the impact of a natural hazard. It involves a combination of factors that determine the degree to which someone’s life and livelihood are put at risk by a discrete and identifiable event in nature or in society (Zurich, 2010).” The difference between social and physical vulnerability is physiological versus psychological. People’s physical vulnerability refers to their susceptibility to biological changes (i.e., impacts on anatomical structures and physiological functioning), whereas their social vulnerability refers to their susceptibility to ...view middle of the document...

Children, especially in the youngest age groups, cannot protect themselves during a disaster because they lack the necessary resources, knowledge, or life experiences to effectively cope with the situation (Flanagan, Gregory, Hallisey, Heitgerd, and Lewis, 2011). Because the assumption can be made that younger children are the responsibility of the parents, responders are not always prepared to provide the proper resources in the case of a disaster. Elderly and the disabled are also a high vulnerability factor. Family members or neighbors who would ordinarily look in on an elder, or a caretaker responsible for the welfare of a disabled person, might be less able to do so during a crisis or may find the magnitude of the task beyond their capability (Flanagan et al., 2011).
In the more recent years, immigrants into the United States have increased thus increasing the rates of vulnerabilities amongst the Latin and Asian cultures more specifically. With more and more ethnicity migrating to the country every year, communication and literacy have become huge barriers for the dissemination of disaster preparedness information Flanagan et al., 2011). In most communities where English is not the primary language, these personnel have to rely on family, friends, and neighbors for this information which can become critical if no translation is available at the time of a crisis. Another major vulnerability that affects ethnicity is discrimination. Real estate discrimination may confine minorities to certain hazard-prone areas or hinder minorities in obtaining policies with more-reliable insurance companies (Rygel, O’Sullivan, and Yarnal, 2006).
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