Natural Hazards, volume 93, pages1479–1505 (2018)
Mashrur Rahman, Uttama Barua, Farzana Khatun, Ishrat Islam & Rezwana Rafiq
Abstract Participation of local people during any disaster is enormous. They possess better knowledge and information about their own community than anyone else from the outside. This study proposes Participatory Vulnerability Reduction (PVR), a community-based approach for disaster management. The concept of PVR was applied to an urban community of Dhaka city (Ward no. 06 of Dhaka North City Corporation) which has been identified by the Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme as one of the most vulnerable areas of the city for earthquake. PVR consists three steps, and in each step, different participatory urban appraisal tools were used. In the first step, the community people assessed the earthquake vulnerability. It was found that some certain parts of the study area are highly vulnerable due to lack of accessibility to the critical facilities, inadequacy of open space, poor construction practice and unsuitable soil condition for building construction. This was followed by analyzing the root causes and effects of these problems. Structural fragility of the buildings, construction of settlements by filling the low-lying areas and development of slums beside taller buildings are the three major causes behind the above vulnerable issues. In the second step, capacity of the community was assessed in terms of resources and their organizational structure. In the final step, local people developed the strategies to overcome the vulnerability and a community-based organizational set up was proposed to coordinate the collective actions. Although developed in local context, application of PVR is not limited for earthquake and it can be replicated for other communities as well.