vulnerability and capacity assessment (vca) uses various participatory tools to gauge people’s exposure to and capacity to resist natural hazards. it is an integral part of disaster preparedness and contributes to the creation of community-based disaster preparedness programmes at the rural and urban grass-roots level.
vca enables local priorities to be identified and appropriate action taken to reduce disaster risk and assists in the design and development of programmes that are mutually supportive and responsive to the needs of the people most closely concerned.
the aims of vca are to:
assess risks and hazards facing communities and the capacities they have for dealing with them;
involve communities, local authorities and humanitarian and development organizations in the assessment from the outset;
draw up action plans to prepare for and respond to the identified risks;
identify risk-reduction activities to prevent or lessen the effects of expected hazards, risks and vulnerabilities.
vca is complementary to national and sub-national risk, hazard, vulnerability and capacity mapping exercises that identify communities most at risk. a vca is then undertaken in these communities to diagnose the specific areas of risk and vulnerability and determine what action can be taken to address them. to complete the circle, what a vca unearths at the local level can provide a valuable indication of national and sub-national vulnerabilities and capacities.
the international federation’s experience over the last ten years has enabled it to refine and improve vca to make it better focused and more effective in achieving its purpose. it has also shown how vca can be linked to and reinforce other red cross red crescent programmes and activities. moreover, as vca is a participatory process, national societies can develop realistic and relevant activities that are better suited to local needs and priorities..