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A modular approach for vulnerability assessment in the Southern Italy: A forest fire hazard scenario

Roberta Maletta, PhD, Giuseppe Mendicino, PhD


Vulnerability is an important component for risk assessment, representing the main element in the perception of the risk. This paper shows a methodological approach to describe a composite vulnerability index suitable to be used at the census scale. The aim of this study is threefold: at first, a new administrative limit, “Territorial Context” (TC), for the purpose of the emergency management is investigated. Second, it improves the common vulnerability methods applying different weights and a new approach of vulnerability levels classification by using fuzzy analysis. Finally, it provides vulnerability maps, which represent a simple way to identify areas where the capacity to cope with a hazard, during an event, is strongly influenced by social and territorial conditions and the road infrastructure accessibility.

The proposed TC Vulnerability Index (TCVI) aggregates three indices to capture the complex realities of the investigated system that cannot be adequately quantified by a single index. Specifically, two indices measure the social (TCVIpeople) and territorial (TCVIexposure) vulnerability through an inductive approach based on the principal component analysis. The third index (TCVIemergency) provides a measure of the emergency management operating system, essentially based on the possibility of moving to safe areas, for citizens, or to coordination centers and risk areas, for rescuers.

Results show notable differences in the spatial distribution of vulnerability, highlighting the multidimensionality and heterogeneity of the census area characteristics. These findings would provide a scientific base for the public decision-makers to implement effective disaster prevention and mitigation in Mediterranean areas.


vulnerability index, road networks, forest fire hazard, territorial context, emergency response, indices and maps

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