Purpose – The Indian state of Assam is situated in a high rainfall zone and the river Brahmaputra flowing through the state causes annual floods which adversely impact the agro‐economic base of the region. The situation is likely to become exacerbated under the impact of climate change. The purpose of this paper is to quantify the vulnerability of the farmers in Assam to floods in the scenario of the present climate variability taking a case study of the Majuli Island of Jorhat district. Design/methodology/approach – The current vulnerability of the farmers in the Majuli Island of Jorhat district of Assam is quantified using the “indicator method”. A Composite Vulnerability Index is calculated taking into account various indicators reflective of the exposure, sensitivity and the adaptive capacity of the farmers' community to floods. The indicators have been quantified based on the data obtained from household surveys and participatory rural appraisals (PRAs) in the villages and secondary data sources. Findings – The results show that biophysical factors have the greatest impact on the overall vulnerability of the study area and that strengthened adaptive capacity, proper scientific planning and management is required to protect the Majuli Island from the adverse effects of recurrent floods. Originality/value – This paper shows that the more decentralized the spatial unit of vulnerability assessment is, the more helpful it would be for policy makers and stakeholders to formulate efficient mitigation measures, plan apposite developmental programmes and improve the adaptive capacity of Assam as a whole to face the natural phenomenon of floods.
International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 11, 2012
Keywords: Vulnerability assessment; Floods; Indicators; Composite Vulnerability Index; India; Risk assessment
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