Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Mozambique and natural disasters: human capital under threat

Prado C. Alfaiate, Jorge (2009): Mozambique and natural disasters: human capital under threat.

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This paper assesses the effect of a sequence of natural disasters on children’s health that hit Mozambique at the start of the 21st Century. The disasters in question were the floods of 2000 and the droughts of the years 2002 and 2003. Height-for-age z-scores of children between 1 and 3 years old is used to capture the cumulative effects of this sequence of natural disasters. It was found that the effect of the disasters on these children’s height was, on average, -0.4236 standard deviations, which corresponds to the affected children being more than 1.5 cm shorter by the time of the survey. The findings in this paper are important because of the long term economic cost associated with the disasters, and urge the need for further public intervention to mitigate the damage caused by the shocks. This paper also contributes to the existing literature on the subject of the impact of shocks on child health in the developing world by focusing on measurement errors, differences in physical stature among ethnic groups and migratory movements.

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