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Social vulnerability in Chile: challenges for multi-scale analysis and disaster risk reduction

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Socio-natural disasters can have profound consequences for countries exposed to natural hazards. Consequently, Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) management and the development of techniques to measure social vulnerability, such as the Social Vulnerability Index (SoVI), are critical to comprehending and mitigating risk factors. However, the impact of considering different spatial scales to understand and analyze social vulnerability remains largely unknown. The objective of this research is to identify the factors that determine social vulnerability in Chile, the implications of using four different territorial scales, differentiating for urban/rural territory, and the implications in DRR. The research considers the SoVI method, using the national census and the socioeconomic household survey to construct 25 variables at the zone/locality levels, and the use of a GIS platform. On average, eight vulnerability components are defined per model, with an average explanatory variance of 71%. Our analysis shows that social vulnerability in Chile is highly conditioned by access to basic services, low educational level, quality of housing, and income levels. Furthermore, the use of SoVI has made it possible to determine that the use of different territorial scales is an opportunity and a tool for decision-makers that should be investigated for planning purposes and the design of DRR policies.

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This work was supported by the National Agency for Research and Development of Chile (ANID) through the following programs: Research Center for Integrated Disaster Risk Management (CIGIDEN) FONDAP [grant numbers ANID/FONDAP/1522A0005]; FONDEF [grant number ANID/FONDEF/ID14I20309]; and FONDECYT [grant numbers ANID/FONDECYT/1181754].

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Regarding the contribution of the authors, all contributed to the study conception and design. Material preparation, data collection, and analysis were performed by Nikole Guerrero and Marta Contreras. The first draft of the manuscript was written by Nikole Guerrero, and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Alondra Chamorro.

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Appendix A.

Appendix A.

Matrix of principal component analysis of realized models.

See Tables 8, 9, 10, and 11.

Table 8 Models nationwide
Table 9 Models of the macro-zonal scale
Table 10 Regional scale models
Table 11 Models of the metropolitan scale

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Guerrero, N., Contreras, M., Chamorro, A. et al. Social vulnerability in Chile: challenges for multi-scale analysis and disaster risk reduction. Nat Hazards 117, 3067–3102 (2023).

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