Rural Livelihoods, Adaptation and Disaster Risk Governance: Understanding Flood-Induced Vulnerability in Coastal Odisha, India

Parida, Jayashree (2018) Rural Livelihoods, Adaptation and Disaster Risk Governance: Understanding Flood-Induced Vulnerability in Coastal Odisha, India. PhD thesis.

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The effects of climate change and the growing world population are together increasing both the chances of disaster occurrences and their consequences worldwide. Poorer developing countries including India are especially vulnerable to climate related disasters because of their geographic exposure, low incomes and greater reliance on climate-sensitive sectors, particularly agriculture. People belonging to those countries, exposed to the most severe natural disasters are often least able to cope with the associated impacts, due to their limited adaptive capacity. It is revealed from the statistics that the incidence of flood occurrences is more among all natural disasters since 1900 worldwide (EM-DAT, CRED, 2018). Since the declaration of the International Decade of Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) of the nineties, disaster risk management has been a subject of inquiry by a large number of organizational theorists and experts in natural and social sciences.
The increasing prevalence of flooding in Coastal Odisha has had a devastating impact on lives and livelihoods of people. In order to reduce the vulnerability, communities of that region prepare for and adopt various adaptive livelihood strategies, careful and comprehensive emergency planning and adequate response capacity. Over the last couple of years, a paradigm shift in the approach to disaster management has been carried out by the Government of India. National policies and Acts like Disaster Management Act, 2005 and National Policy on Disaster Management, 2009 and various central and state plans, policies have been implemented with the aim of mitigating disasters. In spite of many measures to mitigate the vulnerabilities of disasters, the situation becomes worse than before the enactment of these Acts and policies. In view of the above, there is a need to understand the impact of flooding on the livelihoods of the affected populations and analyze the factors that make the communities more vulnerable to flood and identify the process of post-disaster livelihood reconstruction strategies, so that programmes and policies by government and other non-governmental organizations can build upon these initiatives to increase their resilience.
The study is an attempt to explore how the people of coastal Odisha respond to the climatic events i.e. flood and how they cope with and recover their livelihood in response to flooding, particularly during, pre and post-flood period. Being explorative and evaluative in nature, both quantitative and qualitative techniques were used to provide an in-depth perspective of the problems. For the study, two districts i.e. Balasore and Kendrapara in total were selected based on certain criteria such as frequency of flooding, maximum blocks affected, crop loss, houses damaged, livestock and human lives lost. Total four blocks, two from Balasore district (Baliapal and Bhogarai) and two Blocks from Kendrapara District (Marshaghai and Rajkanika) were chosen on the basis of above said criteria. The same procedure was followed for GP and village selection. The survey was conducted among 400 households (based on the size of the landholdings) from eight villages of selected districts. Stratified random sampling was used for selecting the sample. Further, to examine the institutional mechanisms and the role of stakeholders in disaster management, the researcher discussed and collected important information from the officials of various government and non-government agencies engaged in disaster management directly or indirectly in that particular area in order to have broader views and opinions on policy matters, problems and potentials and evaluate their role in three phases such as pre-flood arrangement, actions during and immediately after flood and post-flood measures. Also, the local Panchayat leaders were interviewed in this regard. Another important participatory research method, Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were organized among both male and female groups separately at the village level in order to know their views and opinions regarding flood preparedness activities, management of short-term relief and rehabilitation measures of Govt. and NGOs, long-term development planning, their acceptance and rejection, their interests and needs and so on. In addition to this, secondary data were collected from various departments and directorates. The data collected were analyzed using SPSS software and other statistical methods like percentage and cross tabulation. The analysis of the qualitative data was based on the grounded theory methodology and descriptive content analysis technique.
The study of the socio-economic background of the farm households reveals that the study region is dominated by a large proportion of landless/sharecroppers, small and marginal farmers who depend mostly on agriculture for their livelihood. The findings on the impact of flooding on social capital (bonding and bridging social capital) demonstrate that bonding social capital became the major resource immediately aftermath of the disaster whereas the bridging social capital helped the respondents in post-disaster period. The findings on natural disasters and natural capital in this chapter describe that disaster-related bio-diversity loss impacted other capitals (physical capital, financial capital and human capital) by agricultural production, health effects of the households and communities. The study reveals that marginal and landless households had insufficient access to information especially regarding early warning, disaster preparedness and planning to allow them to properly respond. The study depicts that households made adjustments in reducing their household consumption by eating their own produced crops or buying fewer or less expensive items, taking children from school, skip classes to engage in livelihood activities, use natural/herbal medicine for diseases. Frequent floods and the loss of livelihoods were the major reason of migration stated by most of landless/sharecroppers and marginal farmers. It is also indicated in the study that the social relations between households with high and low landholdings are characterized by patron-client reciprocal relationship. Based on the socio-economic conditions, the low-status clients (landless, marginal farmers and small farmers) need high-status patrons (moneylenders, large farmers) in terms of employment, credit for cash or food during the crisis period, and the patrons need clients as assured sources of labour for their agricultural land during the post-disaster period. Participants of the different FGDs commented on institutional mechanisms by delays in supply, corruption by local public officials, and nepotism in making lists of beneficiaries. The study found that the effective collaboration and coordination was lacking among all stakeholders at local level. The findings of the study will bring a new dimension for further research investigation in the field of disaster research and more directly relevant to policymaking and operational decisions.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Adaptation; Flood; Governance; Livelihood; Stakeholders; Vulnerability
Subjects:Humanities & Social Sciences > Environmental Sociology
Humanities & Social Sciences > Rural Sociology
Divisions: Social Sciences > Department of Humanities & Social Sciences
ID Code:9607
Deposited By:IR Staff BPCL
Deposited On:04 Dec 2018 18:20
Last Modified:04 Dec 2018 18:20
Supervisor(s):Mishra, Niharranjan

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