The Social Vulnerability Index can help groups communicate about vulnerability and adaptation in the Southeastern United States.
The communities that are the most vulnerable to impacts like droughts, flooding, and sea level rise may be those that contain both climate hazards and social vulnerability factors. Oxfam is examining the intersection of these risks in an effort to raise public awareness of the importance of preparedness and adaptation. Improved understanding of different types of vulnerabilities is especially important for areas that are facing disproportionate impacts.
Oxfam America and the University of South Carolina's Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute developed a series of maps (the Social Vulnerability Index) that highlight climate "hotspots" in the Southeast. The research looked across 13 states and identified counties that exhibit high levels of both social vulnerability (i.e. socioeconomics and access to medical services) and climate vulnerability (i.e. susceptibility to sea-level rise and hurricanes). The index compared data across populations and ranks counties from the most vulnerable (Webb County, TX) to the least vulnerable (Robeson County, NC). From this tool, Oxfam aims to help improve adaptation responses and protect communities from harm.