Vulnerability is the condition determined by physical, social, economic and environmental factors or processes, which increases the susceptibility of a community or society to the impact of hazards. In this regard, the scale or density of population, property and product amounts/yields are some of the most significant vulnerability indices from the physical and economic points of view. According to the census data collected by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Statistics, the population and agricultural product yield are concentrated in Punjab and Sindh Provinces. These viewable and available indices can be used to evaluate the risk for the whole of Pakistan.
A physical vulnerability that is subject to all disasters is the poor quality of construction of housing structures, buildings, and infrastructure (particularly rural). Most of the rural housing in Pakistan is adobe, which is extremely vulnerable to hazards like earthquakes, floods, and landslides. In AJ& K, FATA, GB, and KP, people build houses by pilling stones upon each other without any reinforcement. The indigenous practice of light-weight, timber-laced construction has given way to massive masonry and reinforced concrete construction which provides adequate protection against harsh weather but is often too poorly constructed to withstand strong earthquakes or heavy rainfall that can cause the adobe houses to collapse.
The hazards and vulnerabilities can be overlaid for the analysis of the risk with the use of GIS software. Using the same methodology, the values of each layer were divided into five levels indicating from high hazard/risk to low hazard/risk. As a result, the top 50 most vulnerable and high-risk districts revealed by the analysis are given in the table below.
Table: Priority Districts