This paper investigates local-scale social vulnerability to flood hazards in Romania, aiming to identify the most vulnerable social and demographic groups across a wide range of geographical locations by considering three dimensions: demographic, socioeconomic, and the built environment. The purpose of the paper is threefold: first, it strives to improve the Social Vulnerability model (SoVI®
) by applying a different weighting method adapted to the Romanian context, taking into consideration the municipalities exposed to flood movements. Second, it aims to develop an assessment model for the most vulnerable communities by measuring the heterogeneity according to local indicators related to disaster risks. Third, it aims to facilitate emergency managers to identify community sub-groups that are more susceptible to loss and to increase the resilience of local communities. To perform local-level vulnerability mapping, 28 variables were selected and three aggregated indexes were constructed with the help of the ArcGIS software. Moreover, a model of Geographically Weighted Regression (GWR) between communities directly affected by floods and localities with high- and very high values of the Local Social Vulnerability Index (LoSoVI) was used to explore the spatial relationship among them and to compare the appropriateness of Ordinary Least Square (OLS) and GWR for such modelling. The established GWR model has revealed that the negative effects of flood hazards are often associated with communities with a high degree of social vulnerability. Thus, the analysis is able to provide a more comprehensive picture on communities in desperate need of financial resources in order to have the ability to diminish the negative impacts of flood hazards and to provide a more sustainable society.
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