VULNERABILITY TO FLOODING AND COPING BEHAVIOR FOUND IN HOUSING CONDITION: A CASE STUDY IN VAN QUAT DONG VILLAGE, TAM GIANG LAGOON AREA, CENTRAL VIETNAM
Vietnam is a country that is suffered from frequent natural disasters. The most common types of natural disasters experienced are typhoon and flood. From 1951 to 2010, there were 166 typhoons come to Vietnam, of which 67 % hit the central region, 25 % to the north and 8 % to the south of the country. Typhoons bring heavy rains and high tides which accelerate floods, particularly in the coastal and lagoon areas of Central Vietnam. Identification of vulnerability to flooding and coping behavior of local people is required in the efforts to strengthen local capacity related to livelihood security in the study area. This study aims at characterizing the vulnerability of housing condition to flooding and the coping behaviors of local people after experienced big floods in Tam Giang lagoon area, Central Vietnam. Measurement of house’s foundation, observation of types of housing, interview to collect information about the water level during the events of big floods, year of construction and change of people’s behavior after the 1999’s flood were conducted with 427 households in Van Quat Dong village where four big flooding occurred in 1983, 1999, 2007 and 2009 during the last 30 years. The study shows that the 1999’s flood was the biggest flood with water height reached to 148.7 ± 23.9 cmfrom house floor and 222.6 ± 15.4 cmfrom ground level. The households located in the eastern part of the village are recognized more vulnerable to flood due to the lower altitude. The temporary and semi-permanent houses, which share 77.0 % to the entire houses, are considered to be relatively vulnerable to flooding due to weak housing materials and low height of foundation. The houses which categorized to permanent and semi-permanent types constructed after the 1999’s flood have higher foundation than the other houses constructed before the 1999’s flood. The raising of foundation height of permanent and semi-permanent houses, as well as an increase in numbers of two-storey houses, are recognized to be a behavior of local people to cope with flooding. The study also shows the relationship between the poverty level and the coping behaviors of households. Some of poor households in the village are still not in good preparedness to flooding. It suggests that poverty level of household concerns to the vulnerability to flooding and, therefore, rural development assistance to improve household economy for poverty alleviation is required in the efforts to strengthen local capacity related to livelihood security.