Lam, N.S.N., Arenas, H., Brito, P.L., Liu, K.B., 2014. Assessment of vulnerability and adaptive capacity to coastal hazards in the Caribbean region. In: Green, A.N. and Cooper, J.A.G. (eds.), Proceedings 13th International Coastal Symposium (Durban, South Africa), Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue No. 70, pp. 473–478, ISSN 0749-0208.
It has been documented that given the same type of climate related hazard and degree of exposure, the vulnerability of a region to the hazard and its resultant damages could be very different, depending on a number of natural and socioeconomic factors. An understanding of the factors contributing to the vulnerability of a region requires a good assessment method. This paper reports the results of a vulnerability assessment to hurricane hazards for the countries in the Caribbean region. The resultant index is a weighted combination of variables. The paper demonstrates a methodology to validate the weights of the variables used to compute the index through regression analysis with the storm damage data. The refined vulnerability indices for the 25 countries studied were found to range from 0.31 to 0.77. Small island countries were generally more vulnerable than large countries, with the highest vulnerability indices (>0.6) found in The Bahamas, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Turks and Caicos Is. Although the hurricane exposure was originally considered a key variable contributing to high vulnerability, low adaptive capacity in the form of low socioeconomic status, high electricity consumption, and low infrastructure development were found to have a higher weight contributing to the overall vulnerability index.