College Essay Examples

Vulnerability Theory

Admission Essay

Vulnerability refers to the features of an individual or a group on their capacity to anticipate, resist, manage and recover from the effects of a natural hazard. It includes a combination of aspects that establish the extent to which a person’s life and livelihood are exposed to risk through a specific and noticeable natural or social event. It is described as the ability and inability susceptibility extent of a system to cope with the severe impacts (Bevacqua, Yu & Zhang, 2018). Resilience is the capacity to recover from or resist bio-physical, economic and infrastructural change or damage. The degree of loss depends on the geographical location and unique to the specified hazard. Hazard mitigation is avoiding exposure or risks arising from a catastrophic event. 

Susceptibility to hazards is denoted by the aspects of adaptive capacity, exposure and sensitivity. Vulnerability indicators are appropriate tools for noting and assessing vulnerability over a given duration and space, for creating an understanding of the techniques reinforcing vulnerability, establishing and initiating approaches to minimize vulnerability, and identifying the efficiency of the approaches (Bevacqua, Yu & Zhang, 2018 ). The significance of studying vulnerability as a socio-ecological factor, pre-requisite of a place-based examination, regarding vulnerability as a human equity challenge and utilizing various concepts to identify catastrophic regions enhance active management. Socio-economic vulnerability is the identifications of populations that are non-resilient and are greatly affected by hazards. It is a development and alignment of economic, anthropological and sociological perspectives that are linked to hazards. The basics of human vulnerability entail access to good governance, resource and information. With the emergence of human vulnerability and its dissociation from ecological and physical constraints, human ecological aspects are used to monitor socio-political causes of social vulnerability.

Vulnerability theory differs from the functionalism model of hazard mitigation because vulnerability identifies risks or exposures that cause a hazard in a particular population. In contrast, Functionalism recognizes the entire social system with regards to obligations of its constituent elements. The strategy views society as a composite system whose components coordinate to enhance solidarity and stability. The components of a society are presented as organs that align towards the proper operation of the whole social body. The structural functionalism theory is instituted upon the concepts of functions and structures. Analysis and description of society should be oriented towards functions. Function reflects the consequences incurred in the goals and the mechanisms in the trends of roles and actions, while structure refers to how a system organizes the functions. Structural Functionalism mitigates the issue performed by a political organization that operates in a political setup or society (Nnadi, Ezeani & Nnadi, 2020)

 The structural, functional theory has got three fundamental assumptions; first, it views the society as one inter-related organ with each component performing a specific role; secondly, it assumes that the entire system of society consists of interconnected parts; and third is that the whole social structure initiates a variety of broader objectives and principles, which members of society mostly evaluate to enhance equilibrium (Nnadi, Ezeani & Nnadi, 2020).  Emphasis on the connectedness of the numerous constituents of society within the Structural Functionalism strategy elaborates that intentional or non-intentional change in a single organ disrupts other social components. Despite the differences, the two theories are both effective in handling social hazards. Functionalism establishes social structures and functions that alleviate the hazards while vulnerability identifies risks and exposure and their management mechanisms to prevent the hazards.

Persons with disability have a higher probability than the general public to sustain injuries or die at the occurrence of a disaster. This category’s high susceptibility or exposure to the general community is due to impairments and inability to prepare, move out, and recover from emerging events. Persons with disability are affected by poverty, structural exclusion and inadequate social support that maximize their vulnerability when a disaster occurs. Developing resilience to persons with disabilities upon a disaster requires preparedness by individuals, societies and institutions (Bevacqua, Yu & Zhang, 2018 ). Preparedness interventions involve storing necessary commodities such as essential items, food, medications, water and information devices for caregiving. Determining an evacuation program, early registration for emergency assistance, self-monitoring of requirements during a disaster and identifying an accessible and safe point to evacuate significantly enhance preparedness.  Having strong personal connections such as friends, family, specialized transport system and disability organizations also assist in preparedness, evacuation and recovery from disaster. Reliable caregivers would greatly decrease vulnerability for persons with extreme disability and high-care demands (Quaill, Barker, & West, 2018)

Neoclassical Reform in Practice

During disasters, people adapt by acting to the best of their ability by utilizing available resources. Previous disaster experiences also improve individual preparedness by referring to checklist and inventories, understanding the ease of accessing information, utilizing community networks and adapting to hardships. Social capital is the relationship between a person’s connections and community resources. It is a vital component for improving resilience for persons with disabilities. When societies accumulate resources and services to assist persons with disabilities and the persons with disabilities strengthen individual connections through active participation in social programs, social capital is enhanced (Nnadi, Ezeani & Nnadi, 2020). Social capital investments improve preparedness and the probability of people recovering in a resilient pattern after a disaster. It can be developed by including disaster survivors in disaster planning and policymaking. Experience and knowledge of the survivors assist in determining population requirements for future disaster occurrences (Quaill, Barker, & West, 2018).



Bevacqua, A., Yu, D., & Zhang, Y. (2018). Coastal vulnerability: Evolving concepts in understanding vulnerable people and places. Environmental Science & Policy82, 19-29.

Nnadi, G. O., Ezeani, O. E., & Nnadi, H. C. (2020). The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the challenge of effective management of internally displaced persons in northeastern Nigeria. IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science (IOSR‐JHSS)25(5), 1-14.

Quaill, J., Barker, R., & West, C. (2018). Experiences of individuals with physical disabilities in natural disasters: An integrative review. Australian Journal of Emergency Management, The33(3), 58-63.


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By Hanna Robinson

Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.

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