Vulnerabilities to flood hazards among rural households in India

Sam, A S and Kumar, R and Kächele, H and Müller, K (2017) Vulnerabilities to flood hazards among rural households in India. Natural Hazards, 88 (2). pp. 1133-1153. ISSN 0921-030X

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Flooding constitutes the most predominant natural disaster in India. The degree and causes of vulnerability to flood risk vary by society, geographical region and over time. The rural people of India are highly vulnerable to flood hazards due to high dependence on natural resources for livelihood and poor socio-economic situations. The information regarding the degree of vulnerability of these people is limited. In order to formulate improved adaption policies and effective programmes to reduce vulnerability, it is crucial to quantify the vulnerability of rural households affected by floods at a regional level. Our study provides insight into the vulnerability of rural households affected by floods in India. We use primary data of 220 flood-prone rural households of Odisha state in India for analysis. The vulnerability is analysed using the Livelihood Vulnerability Index and the Socio-economic Vulnerability Index. Our results show that these households are vulnerable to flood in more than one dimension. Sociodemographic characteristics such as a low literacy rate, a high dependency ratio and a weak housing structure increase these residents’ vulnerability. Access to social networks and social institutions plays a significant role in uplifting poor rural households. Our study concludes that the vulnerability of a household is governed by both non-climatic factors and the incidence of floods. The findings of our study may be considered in developing policies and programmes that will reduce the flood risk. The recommendations we suggested in this study can be applied in other south Asian counties with similar socio-economic profiles.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : Asia
Uncontrolled Keywords: Adaptive capacity, Assessment, Exposure, Sensitivity, Flooding, Food hazards, rural households, floods in India, Odisha, Livelihood Vulnerability, flood risk
Subjects: Others > Floods
Others > Climate Change
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2017 11:00
Last Modified: 30 Aug 2017 11:07
Official URL:
Funders: German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
Acknowledgement: We would like to thank the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for the financial support for the research. We would also like to thank Stiftung Fiat Panis for their financial support during data collection. We are also grateful to Nagesh Barik of CIFA, Odisha, for the help and support provided during data collection. We honour the contribution of people in the research site for their responses and support during the data collection.
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