Social vulnerability to natural hazards in Indonesia: Driving factors and policy implications

Tiodora Hadumaon Siagian, Purhadi Purhadi, Suhartono Suhartono, Hamonangan Ritonga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

150 Citations (Scopus)


Indonesia is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire and situated at the joining point of four major world tectonic plates. Regions of Indonesia are highly prone to various natural hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. Some recent major natural hazard events are the 2004 tsunami in Aceh and Nias and the 2010 Mount Merapi volcanic eruptions in Central Java. In parallel with advancement in knowledge of the existing hazards, the importance of social aspects of vulnerability in mitigating natural hazards has been acknowledged by the Indonesian government. However, to date, there is no institutionalized effort for assessing social vulnerability to natural hazards that would cover all the districts of Indonesia. Accordingly, no comprehensive profile of social vulnerability is available as basis information for developing strategies to prevent larger risk and losses and reduce vulnerability of communities in Indonesia. Only a few studies have been conducted in Indonesia on this field. This study attempts to fill this gap by quantifying the social vulnerability of Indonesian districts to natural hazards, determining its driving factors and mapping its variations. The social vulnerability index (SoVI) approach is utilized in this study. Three main driving factors affecting social vulnerability in Indonesia are found: 'socioeconomic status and infrastructure,' 'gender, age and population growth' and 'family structure.' The combination of SoVI with thematic map utilizing ArcView GIS can be used to identify districts with relative high social vulnerability level. The results can support the prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery programs of the impacts of natural hazards in Indonesia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1603-1617
Number of pages15
JournalNatural Hazards
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


  • Factor analysis
  • Indonesia
  • Natural hazards
  • Social vulnerability


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