Kulatunga, Udayangani, Wedawatta, Gayan, Amaratunga, Dilanthi and Shamsuzzoha, Md (2013) Disaster Risk and Community Vulnerability: the Case of Patuakhali, Bangladesh. In: 9th annual international conference of the international institute for infrastructure renewal and reconstruction, 7-10th July 2013, University of Queensland Australia (Brisbane). (Unpublished)

Natural disasters have the potential to damage the entire economy of a country, especially when they take place in the developing countries. While no country in the world is entirely safe, the lack of capacity to limit the impact of hazards and bounce back after major natural disasters has made developing countries being some of the most vulnerable nations to natural disasters. Bangladesh is a South Asian developing country that faces variety of problems ranging from low income; a lack of assets such as land and permanent housing to ac-commodate the people; shortages of clean water and adequate food; inability to participate in commercial ac-tivity; high population density. Owing to geographical settings and environmental reasons, Bangladesh is currently ranked as one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries in the world. The frequent natural hazards such as cyclones, storm surges, floods, droughts, tornados, riverbank erosions, earthquakes, arsenic contami-nation of groundwater and landslides account for significant losses in human lives and physical assets while effects are further reflected in social settings, ecosystems and the economic well-being of the country. This paper evaluates the disaster risk and vulnerable factors in Bangladesh with particular reference to Patuakhali coastal region. Focus group discussions and semi-structured interviews were conducted with community, community leaders and local authority when collecting data for this study. Community identified Cyclones as the main disaster that creates devastating damages and losses to their lives, property and belongings. River erosion, Salinity and Floods were also identified as other disasters that affect socio-economic lives of the community. Geographical location, lack of sufficient cyclone centers, vulnerability of female, children and old people; and excessive love and devotion to property and animal were identified as factors that increase the vulnerability of community towards natural disasters.

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