Advancing Social Vulnerability Assessment of Filipinos to Typhoons

by Anna Amalia B. Vibar (2024)


The Philippines needs effective disaster risk assessment and management strategies due to the increasing typhoon threats annually. This study identifies typhoon vulnerability indicators based on the 2020 Census of the Population and Housing; developed with the aid of PAGASA and NDRRMC reports on Typhoon Odette’s impact in December 2021.

Utilizing a previously established census-based social vulnerability index (SVI) composed of 18 variables, the study zeroed in on the indicators related to typhoon loss and damage. Employing linear regression using R and R Studio, the study identified a typhoon vulnerability index (TVI) comprising seven key variables that describe housing materials and age, the size and composition of the household in terms of gender, and other characteristics of the population related to the level of educational attainment, age, gender, and birth registration. Indicators that showed negative association underscored the significance of women’s household roles and the Filipinos’ adaptive behavior, offering opportunities for reduced susceptibility to typhoon impacts.

The TVI is used to map areas that are most at risk of typhoon-related loss and damage, revealing vulnerability primarily in the mountainous areas of the Cordillera region, Eastern Visayas, Southern Palawan, Negros Oriental, and a significant portion of Mindanao. Urbanized areas generally exhibit lower typhoon vulnerability levels, although exceptions such as the City of Manila and Navotas exist.

However, the census-based TVI only explains 22.64% of the resulting loss and damage data examined and can only be updated every 5-10 years. Enhancing this measure with unconventional data sources providing near real-time information can improve spatial analysis on the typhoon-exposed population before, during, and post-disaster.