Assessing Household Vulnerability to Climate Variability in Far-West Nepal

Rajendra P. Shrestha, Binaya Pasakhala, Said Qasim

Abstract


This study analyzed the trends of climatic parameters (temperature and precipitation) over the last three decades (1977-2008) and assessed vulnerability of households to climate variability, i.e., extreme weather events, using two sets of indicators, (1) livelihood assets as indicators of adaptive capacity, and (2) indicators of sensitivity and exposure. The study was carried out in two communities of Kailali district, Nepal, one susceptible to floods and the other to droughts. A vulnerability index, computed from livelihood assets indicators developed in consultation with local people, was used to categorize the surveyed households into three vulnerability groups. Indicators of adaptive capacity and indicators of sensitivity and exposure differed significantly across these groups. The rising trend of extreme rainfall events and drought conditions have increased the vulnerability of agriculture based livelihoods in the study area. Adaptation measures were adopted by households depending on their endowment with key livelihood assets. Annual income, training and land holding size were identified as major adaptive capacity indicators, while distance of households from rivers was the key sensitivity and exposure factor. The findings suggest that programs aimed at facilitating adaptation to climate change and variability have to be integrated with disaster risk management and need to incorporate strategies for improving local livelihoods.

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