Quantifying household vulnerability triggered by drought: evidence from rural India

Type Journal Article - Climate and Development
Title Quantifying household vulnerability triggered by drought: evidence from rural India
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
Page numbers 1-16
URL http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17565529.2016.1193461
Drought is a complex, slow-onset phenomenon that imposes serious challenges on human beings and ecosystems. The
vulnerability associated with drought may vary at different social, geographical and temporal scales. These differences
emphasize the need for regional-level vulnerability assessments, which in turn helps to formulate efficient adaptation
policies and strategies that are suitable for the region to mitigate the drought risk. The objective of this paper is to
quantify the livelihood and socio-economic vulnerability of rural households that are affected by drought in rural India.
The Livelihood Vulnerability Index and Socioeconomic Vulnerability Index were applied to analyse the vulnerability of
rural households. A sample size of 157 rural households from the state of Odisha in India was surveyed in 2015. Sociodemographic
characteristics such as low literacy rates, high dependency ratios and weak housing structures make people
more vulnerable, whereas access to social networks plays a significant role in supporting poor rural households. The
research concludes that the impacts of drought make people who are already vulnerable due to poverty, inequality and
marginalization even more vulnerable. The outcomes of this study may be considered in formulating effective coping
strategies and policies that may help mitigate the drought risk. The findings and recommendations of this study will find
applicability in other rural, natural resource-dependent countries with similar socio-economic profiles such as other south
Asian countries.

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