Exposure to floods, climate change, and poverty in Vietnam

With 70% of its population living in coastal areas and low-lying deltas, Vietnam is highly exposed to riverine and coastal flooding. This paper conducts a “stress-test” and examines the exposure of the population and poor people in particular to current and future flooding in Vietnam and specifically in Ho Chi Minh City. We develop new high-resolution flood hazard maps at 90 m horizontal resolution, and combine this with spatially-explicit socioeconomic data on poverty at the country and city level, two datasets often kept separate. The national-level analysis finds that a third of today’s population is already exposed to a flood, which occurs once every 25 years, assuming no protection. For the same return period flood under current socioeconomic conditions, climate change may increase the number exposed to 38 to 46% of the population (an increase of 13–27% above current exposure), depending on the severity of sea level rise. While poor districts are not found to be more exposed to floods at the national level, the city-level analysis of Ho Chi Minh City provides evidence that slum areas are more exposed than other urban areas. The results of this paper provide an estimate of the potential exposure under climate change, including for poor people, and can provide input on where to locate future investments in flood risk management.

Bangalore, M., Smith, A. & Veldkamp, T. EconDisCliCha (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41885-018-0035-4