The effectiveness of governments, humanitarian workers, and agencies with regard to the needs of vulnerable populations has increasingly become a measure of effective emergency planning and disaster management. Yet the term vulnerability conjures up a range of interpretations. The words vulnerable and vulnerability are notoriously elusive to define and open to interpretation, with different professions attributing their own meanings to these terms. The word vulnerability is derived from Latin, for which the equivalent in English is “to wound.” Vulnerability is a term that is used in disasters to suggest the level of a person's susceptibility to hazard risk. However, it would be too simplistic to assume that there is a finite list of people who belong to the vulnerable population. Perhaps the most important aspect ...

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