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Vulnerability and Coping to Disasters: A Study of Household Behaviour in Flood Prone Region of India

Patnaik, Unmesh and Narayanan, K (2010): Vulnerability and Coping to Disasters: A Study of Household Behaviour in Flood Prone Region of India.

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Disaster risk is a major concern in a developing country like India as people living in disaster prone regions of the country are subject to variety of risks concerning their livelihoods. Preliminary assessments reveal that the severity and intensity of floods in various parts of India might increase due to climate change. This paper attempts to understand the various risks faced by households living in disaster prone regions of rural India and specifically examine the effectiveness of coping mechanisms adopted by households living in these areas to hedge against the risks. The study area (districts of eastern Uttar Pradesh, India) is highly susceptible to floods with a major flood occurring every ten years and smaller ones happening every one-two years. The data is drawn from primary household surveys undertaken in the study area for flood affected households. The analysis is carried out using a risk sharing and self insurance framework and econometric modeling is carried out using binary outcomes and multivariate probit estimation through GHK (Geweke- Hajivassiliou- Keane) estimator. Based on the empirical analysis, and subject to the assumptions and the usual limitations of data used, the findings of the study suggest that: (i) overall the impacts of disasters on the consumption level of the household exhibit an inverse relationship, (ii) consumption smoothening behaviour is not exhibited by the households and (iii) household specific characteristics along with the geographical location of the households have no significant role to play with respect to the changes in consumption in the flood prone districts of eastern Uttar Pradesh.

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