Vulnerability to Environmental Stress

Household Livelihoods, Assets and Mobility in the Mekong Delta, Viet Nam

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This study explores vulnerability and household response measures in the contexts of environmental stress in the Mekong Delta of Viet Nam. Displacement estimates are often based on broad assumptions derived from macro-scale geographical data, viewing individuals’ vulnerability to hazards through the lens of their physical proximity to hazard-prone areas. Given that household assets shape responses to opportunities and threats, this report examines key household assets which determine the household vulnerability, livelihood outcomes and those critical for mobility decision-making in the face of environmental change. The report also provides analysis of government relocation programmes targeting households susceptible to hazards and draws attention to the most asset-poor, who are often trapped and the least able to both adapt to stressors in- situ, or migrate elsewhere.




This section discusses the key household assets identified as critical determinants of household vulnerability in Vinh Tri and Long Thuan. These assets are found to mediate livelihood outcomes, vulnerability and mobility decision-making in conditions of environmental stress. Two tangible assets – homestead and agricultural land – are first examined. The concept of vulnerability shifts – whereby certain types of vulnerability are exchanged for others, to avoid a decrease in overall vulnerability – is furthermore proposed in relation to relocation outcomes. This leads us to question the aptness of government relocation programmes as a pervasive strategy for climate change adaptation in the Mekong Delta region.


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