Vulnerability means the extent to which changes can hurt or harm a person or a system.

In context with natural hazards and natural disasters, vulnerability is a concept that looks at the relationship that people have with their environment and at social aspects.

So it links environment to social forces and institutions and the cultural values that sustain and contest them. “The concept of vulnerability expresses the multidimensionality of disasters by focusing attention on the totality of relationships in a given social situation which constitute a condition that, in combination with environmental forces, produces a disaster” (Bankoff et al. 2004: 11).

Complex definition: Vulnerability is the susceptibility to physical or emotional injury or attack. It also means to have one's guard down, open to censure or criticism; assailable. Vulnerability refers to a person's state of being liable to succumb, as to persuasion or temptation (see Thywissen 2006 for a comparison of vulnerability definitions).

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