Natural Hazards

, Volume 93, Issue 1, pp 147–165 | Cite as

Flood hazards: household vulnerability and resilience in disaster-prone districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan

  • Ashfaq Ahmad Shah
  • Jingzhong Ye
  • Muhammad Abid
  • Jahangir Khan
  • Syed Muhammad Amir
Original Paper


Pakistan is alarmingly exposed and vulnerable to flood disasters as a result of rapid urbanization that has not taken into account the threats posed by climate change. The devastating impacts of floods and other natural disasters put extra pressure on the country’s budget and has driven the country’s leadership to adopt a proactive approach instead of traditional, aid-based, approach, one that encourages the inclusion of disaster risk reduction measures within local disaster management policies. This research elaborates household vulnerability and resilience to flood disaster within two districts within Pakistan. It uses a dataset of 600 households collected through face-to-face interviews from two districts within the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province that were severely affected by the 2010 flood and data from the Directorate of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Disaster Management Authority. In a second step, we assigned weights to the selected variables for vulnerability (exposure, susceptibility and adaptive capacity) and resilience (with social, physical, economic, and institutional components) and used a subjective method (based on expert judgment) to weight these. The survey findings revealed that both study areas were highly vulnerable and had low resilience to flood disasters. The study findings indicated that community households in the flood-prone areas of Nowshera district were more vulnerable and less resilient than those in Charsadda, with a higher composite vulnerability index scoring and a lower composite resilience index score. This study shows that provincial and local disaster management authorities can play a vital role in reducing vulnerability and that more efforts are required to strengthen social, physical, economic, and institutional resilience through capacity-building training, preparedness, and awareness building about preventing and mitigating flood damage.


Climate change Flood disaster Vulnerability and resilience Indices Disaster risk reduction Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pakistan 



This study is part of a Ph.D. research at the College of Humanities and Development Studies (COHD), China Agricultural University, Beijing, China. This Ph.D. research is made possible by the sponsorship of the Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC). We thank to the Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Disaster Management Authority (KP-PDMA) and local households representatives and enumerators for their effective support and coordination in organizing and conducting successful household interviews during February and June 2016. We are very thankful to Nicholas Parrott for his contribution to proofreading and editing of this paper.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ashfaq Ahmad Shah
    • 1
  • Jingzhong Ye
    • 1
  • Muhammad Abid
    • 2
  • Jahangir Khan
    • 3
  • Syed Muhammad Amir
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Humanities and Development Studies (COHD)China Agriculture UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Center for Climate Research and Development (CCRD), COMSATS Institute of Information TechnologyIslamabadPakistan
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing for Agri-HazardsCentre for Remote Sensing & GIS China Agricultural UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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