Constructing Vulnerability: The Historical, Natural and Social Generation of Flooding in Metropolitan Manila

Publication Date : 2003-09-02
Author : Bankoff, G.
Countries : Philippines
Disaster Management Theme :
Disaster Type : Flood
Document Type : Research Paper
Languange : en
Link :

Abstact :

Flooding is not a recent hazard in the Philippines but one that has occurred throughout the recorded history of the archipelago. On the one hand, it is related to a wider global ecological crisis to do with climatic change and rising sea levels but on the other hand, it is also the effect of more localised human activities. A whole range of socio-economic factors such as land use practices, living standards and policy responses are increasingly influencing the frequency of natural hazards such as floods and the corresponding occurrence of disasters. In particular, the reason why flooding has come to pose such a pervasive risk to the residents of metropolitan Manila has its basis in a complex mix of inter-relating factors that emphasise how the nature of vulnerability is constructed through the lack of mutuality between environment and human activity over time. This paper examines three aspects of this flooding: first, the importance of an historical approach in understanding how hazards are generated; second, the degree of interplay between environment and society in creating risk; and third, the manner in which vulnerability is a complex construction.