Natural Hazards

, Volume 75, Issue 2, pp 1271–1286 | Cite as

Urban flood vulnerability zoning of Cochin City, southwest coast of India, using remote sensing and GIS

  • K. SowmyaEmail author
  • C. M. John
  • N. K. Shrivasthava
Original Paper


The present study identified the various zones vulnerable to urban flood in Cochin City, one of the biggest metro cities on the southwest coast of peninsular India. The analysis and assessment of vulnerability was done through the application of multi-criteria evaluation approach in a geographical information system environment with inputs from remotely sensed images. Other input data sources include SRTM DEM, census details, city maps and field study. Flood vulnerability mapping in the study area is fundamental in flood risk management. Among the three vulnerability zones, the very high and high vulnerable zones together constituted 8.6 % of the total area of the city. The major factors contributed are the blockage of drainage channels and the proximity to coastal waters where there is influence of tides.


Urban flood Flood vulnerability Multi-criteria evaluation Vulnerability mapping 



We deem it as a matter of great pleasure in expressing the deep sense of gratitude to in the authorities of Dr. R. Satheesh Centre for Remote Sensing and GIS, School of Environmental Sciences, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, Kerala, India, and INMCC, ISTRAC (ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network), Bangalore, Karnataka, India, for the laboratory facilities and data supply. We express profound gratitude to Mr. J. V. Thomas, Scientist, EOS, ISRO H.Q, Bangalore, India, and Dr. A. P. Pradeep Kumar, Reader, Kerala University, Trivandrum, Kerala, India, for their advice and support and encouragement. Our special thanks to Mr. Subhash, Town Planning Officer, all members of Kochi City Corporation, Kerala, India, for support in the data collection.


  1. Adeoye NO, Ayanlade A, Babatimehin O (2009) Climate change and menace of floods in Nigerian Cities: socio-economic implications. Adv Nat Appl Sci 3(3):369–377Google Scholar
  2. Adger WN (2006) Vulnerability. Glob Environ Change 16:268–281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alaghmand S, Bin Abdullah R, Abustan I, Vosoogh B (2010) GIS-based river flood hazard mapping in urban area (a case study in Kayu Ara River Basin, Malaysia). Int J Eng Technol 2(6):488–500Google Scholar
  4. Bullard RD (ed) (1994) Unequal protection: Environmental justice and communities of color. Sierra Club Books, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  5. Chakraborty J, Armstrong MP (1997) Exploring the use of buffer analysis for the identification of impacted areas in environmental equity assessment. Cartogr Geogr Inf Syst 24(3):145–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. De US, Rao PGS (2004) Urban climate trends—the Indian scenario. J Indian Geophys Union 8(3):199–203Google Scholar
  7. De US, Dube RK, Prakasa RGS (2005) Extreme weather events over India in the last 100 years. J Indian Geophys Union 9(3):173–188Google Scholar
  8. DTCP (2010) Development plan for Kochi city region 2031 Volume-1: study and Analysis. Department of Town and Country Planning, Govt. of Kerala, KeralaGoogle Scholar
  9. ESRI (2005) ArcGIS 9.1. Environmental Systems Research Institute Redlands, CA, USAGoogle Scholar
  10. Esteem (2002) Canal and drainage assessment for Cochin, India. Esteem Developers, KochiGoogle Scholar
  11. Etuonovbe AK (2011) The devastating effect of flooding in Nigeria, FIG Working Week 2011.
  12. Gosh S, Luniya V, Gupta A (2009) Trend analysis of Indian summer monsoon rainfall at different spatial scales. Atmos Sci Lett 10(4):285–290Google Scholar
  13. Goswami BN, Venugopal V, Sengupta D (2006) Increasing trend of extreme rain events over India in a warming environment. Science 314:1442. doi: 10.1126/science.1132027 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Guhathakurta P, Sreejith OP, Menon PA (2011) Impact of climate change on extreme rainfall events and flood risk in India. J Earth Syst Sci 120(3):359–373CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hewitt K, Burton I (1971) The hazardousness of a place: A regional geology of damaging events. Department of Geography Research Publication, University of Toronto, TorontoGoogle Scholar
  16. Heywood I, Oliver J, Tomlinson S (1993) Building an exploratory multi-criteria modeling environment for spatial decision support. International Journal of Geographical Information Science.
  17. Hindu (2011) Heavy rain floods many areas. The Hindu Daily News Paper on 7th July 2011. Accessed on 8th March 2013
  18. IFRC (2010) World Disaster Report 2010: Focus on Urban Risk. International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent SocietiesGoogle Scholar
  19. IMD (2014). Rainfall in mm for the last five years. Hydromet division, India Meteorological Department. Acquired on 20-5-2014
  20. Izinyon O, Ehiorobo J (2011) Measurements and documentation for flood and erosion monitoring and control in the Niger Delta states of Nigeria. TSo7e Engineering Survey, Marrakech, MoroccoGoogle Scholar
  21. Jeyaseelan AT (1999) Droughts and floods assessment and monitoring using remote sensing and GIS. Satellite Remote Sensing and GIS Applications in Agricultural Meteorology. pp 291–313.
  22. Jha A, Lamond J, Bloch R, Bhattacharya N, Lopez A, Papachristodoulou N, Bird A, Proverbs D, Davies J, Barker R (2011) Five Feet High and Rising: Cities and Flooding in the 21st Century, Policy Research Working Paper 5648, The World Bank, East Asia and Pacific Region, Transport, Energy and Urban Sustainable Development UnitGoogle Scholar
  23. Johnston BR (ed) (1994) Who pays the price? The sociocultural context of environmental crisis. Island Press, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  24. Khole M, De US (2001) Socio-economic impacts of natural disasters. WMO Bull 50:35–40Google Scholar
  25. Lowry JH, Miller HJ, Hepner G (1995) A GIS-based sensitivity analysis of community vulnerability to hazardous contaminants on the Mexico/US Border. Photogrammc Eng Remote Sensing 61(11):1347–1359Google Scholar
  26. LSGD (2005) Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project (PPTA 4106—IND)—Final Report Volume 2 City Report Kochi. Local Self Government Department, Govt. of Kerala and Asian Development BankGoogle Scholar
  27. Maantay JA (2007) Asthma and air pollution in the Bronx: methodological and data considerations in using GIS for environmental justice and health research. Health Place 13:32–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Maantay JA, Ziegler J (2006) Geographic information systems for the urban environment. Environmental Systems Research Institute Press, Redlands, CAGoogle Scholar
  29. Malczewski J (1996) A GIS-based approach to multiple criteria group decision making. Int J Geogr Inform Syst 10(8):955–971Google Scholar
  30. Malczewski J (1999) GIS and multiple-criteria decision analysis. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  31. Mathew S, Truck S, Henderson-Sellers A (2012) Kochi, India case study of climate adaptation to floods. Glob Environ Change 22(2012):308–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Morello-Frosch R, Pastor M, Sadd J (2001) Environmental justice and southern California’s ‘‘riskscape’’ the distribution of air toxics exposures and health risks among diverse communities. Urban Aff Rev 36(4):551–578CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Neumann CM, Forman DL, Rothlein JE (1998) Hazard screening of chemical releases and environmental equity analysis of populations proximate to toxic release inventory facilities in Oregon. Environ Health Perspect 106(4):217–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. O’Neill MS, Jerret M, Kawachi I, Levy J, Cohen AJ, Gouvela N (2003) Health, wealth, and air pollution: advancing theory and methods. Environ Health Perspect 3(16):1861–1870CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. ORNL and CUSAT (2003) Possible vulnerabilities of Cochin, India to climate change impacts and response strategies to increase resilience. Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Cochin University Science and Technology, KochiGoogle Scholar
  36. Rao GSP, Jaswal AK, Kumar MS (2004) Effects of urbanization on meteorological parameters. Mausam 55:429–440Google Scholar
  37. Roy L, Leconte R, Brissette F, Marche C (2001) The impact of climate change on seasonal floods of a southern Quebec River basin. Hydrol Processes 15:3167–3179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Sinha Ray KC, Mukhopadhyay RK, De US (1999) Meteorological disasters during last twenty two years. Natural disasters some issues and concerns—Natural Disaster Management Cell. Vishwabharati, Santiniketan, pp 10–23Google Scholar
  39. Smith K (2001) Environmental hazards: assessing risk and reducing hazards. Third Edition. Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group), New York, USAGoogle Scholar
  40. White HL (1998) Race, class, and environmental hazards. In: Camacho DE (ed) Environmental injustices, political struggles: race, class, and the environment. Duke University Press, Durham, pp 61–81Google Scholar
  41. Yalcin G (2002) Analyzing flood vulnerable areas with multi-criteria evaluation, Unpublished MS Thesis in GGIT METU, Ankara.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Marine Geology DepartmentMangalore UniversityMangaloreIndia
  2. 2.Dr. R. Satheesh Centre for Remote Sensing and GIS, School of Environmental SciencesMahatma Gandhi UniversityKottayamIndia
  3. 3.Indian Mission Control Centre (INMCC)ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC)BangaloreIndia

Personalised recommendations