Assessment of social vulnerability to natural hazards in Nepal
This paper investigates district-wide social vulnerability to natural hazards in Nepal. Disasters such as earthquakes, floods, landslides, epidemics, and droughts are common in Nepal. Every year thousands of people are killed and huge economic and environmental losses occur in Nepal due to various natural hazards. Although natural hazards are well recognized, quantitative and qualitative social vulnerability mapping has not existed until now in Nepal. This study aims to quantify the social vulnerability on a local scale, considering all 75 districts using the available census. To perform district-level vulnerability mapping, 13 variables were selected and aggregated indexes were plotted in an ArcGIS environment. The sum of results shows that only 4 districts in Nepal have a very low social vulnerability index whereas 46 districts (61 %) are at moderate to high social vulnerability levels. Vulnerability mapping highlights the immediate need for decentralized frameworks to tackle natural hazards in district level; additionally, the results of this study can contribute to preparedness, planning and resource management, inter-district coordination, contingency planning, and public awareness efforts.