Evaluation of vulnerability factors for cyclones: the case of Patuakhali, Bangladesh

Udayangani Kulatunga*, Gayan Wedawatta, Dilanthi Amaratunga, Richard Haigh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tropical cyclones are considered as the most severe natural disasters in Bangladesh; they cause extensive damage, create losses in the country[U+05F3]s economy, and affect social settings. The impact of natural disasters has been further intensified due to various vulnerability factors within the Bangladeshi community such as low income; shortages of food; lack of assets such as land and permanent housing; dense population, illiteracy. This study evaluates the vulnerability factors for cyclones in the community based in the Patuakhali region of south western Bangladesh. The bottom-up research approach was adopted for the study, whereby the local community was consulted for their viewpoints by using focus group interviews and semi-structured interviews. Different community groups and social categories including both men and women, from different age groups and livelihoods, participated in the study. The study revealed how the community[U+05F3]s vulnerability to cyclones has been further aggravated by socio-economic factors such as social status, political influences and economic conditions. The majority of the community in Patuakhali has been "knowingly" vulnerable to cyclone disaster as a result of the lack of alternatives especially in terms of their livelihood patterns. The vulnerability of women, due to their lack of authority, domestic work, and fear of exposure within the society was also highlighted. The study revealed how vulnerability factors are interlinked with each other making them further difficult to manage. This calls for multi-faceted disaster risk reduction strategies that targets vulnerability factors deriving from different origins and root causes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-211
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Early online date6 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2014


  • Bangladesh
  • cyclone
  • disaster
  • socio-economic
  • vulnerability


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