Assessing the flood vulnerability of rural communities in Huzhou, China

Porter-Gibson, Jennifer S.
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University of Guelph

Too frequently, losses of life and livelihood result from earthquakes, droughts, or floods. It is sometimes assumed that economic and technological development will result in reduced vulnerability to natural hazards, yet others point to increased losses with development. The goal of this research project was to document the flood vulnerability of rural communities in Huzhou, China and to highlight how rapid rural industrialisation has affected this vulnerability. The development of a conceptual model of vulnerability serves as the framework for the empirical analysis. The model draws on several bodies of scholarship including the hazards research, political economy, anthropology, and international development literature. In order to document and interpret the flood vulnerability of rural communities in the study regions, a multidimensional research approach was employed to facilitate data collection. Key tools used in the analysis of information on flood vulnerability were case study analysis of interview responses, flood exposure mapping, risk assessment, and human-ecological modelling. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)

flood vulnerability, rural communities, Huzhou, China, rapid rural industralisation, human-ecological modelling