When people are exposed to stressful situations such as natural disasters, there are possibilities of them being unable to withstand the effects of their impacts. Social vulnerability of a population determines the degree of a disaster(Cutter et al., 242). The social institutions and systems in a society that support people and reduce their potential to be injured or harmed by stressing situations. The case of the Japanese Tsunami (2011) is an example that showed that disasters are not equal-opportunity catastrophes. Poor people are much affected by a natural disaster than the rich.
It is said that because of the personal wealth of Japanese people, the effects of the tsunami were less than it would have been in some other place. In the anxious days before the tsunami, the exodus that characterizes all other natural disasters was observed (Khazai & James 22). Many people want to leave their areas, others want to stay and protect their homes. Others would want to leave but lack the means to do so. During this time, governments are not of much help and the people are forced to do things by themselves. The personal wealth of the Japanese people helps them during this time as they could move their families and find them alternative shelters.
The personal wealth made the people better placed and connected, they have had the means to get out and find a place to go. These people had the ability to stay away for a few days or book a hotel room for their family for a few days even if the predicted disaster fails to happen (Khazai & James 22). While they are away, the can hire security for their belongings that they leave behind. Personal wealth is a factor that reduces social vulnerability.
Cutter, Susan L., Bryan J. Boruff, and W. Lynn Shirley. “Social vulnerability to environmental hazards.” Social science quarterly 84.2 (2003): 242-261.
Khazai, Bijan, and James E. Daniell. “The March 2011 Japan earthquake.” Institut für Technikfolgen-abschätzung und Systemanalyse (2011): 22.