Impact of natural disasters on rural household poverty - a case study of floods in lower Kano plains, Kenya
Disasters have disproportionate effects on the poor as they are relatively more vulnerable to disaster events. In the Kenya‘s Nyanza region, floods in the Kano Plains have been a major cause of impoverishment in the household. This study examined the impact of flood events in the lower Kano plains of Kisumu County, Kenya with a view of recommending appropriate interventions to increase community resilience. The study specifically sought to know the impact of annual flood cycles on property, life and livelihoods. On the basis of a case study research design, the study collected data from a convenient sample of 160 households in Ogenya sublocation using a survey questionnaire. Key informant interviews were administered to selected officials from government and NGOs as well as elders from the community. Also, the study conducted focus groups on various population segments including men, women and youth. Observations were done to verify actual effects of flood events. Data obtained from the field were stored in an SPSS system and appropriate analytical procedures applied on the dataset. The results show that the lower Kano Plains experience three flood events every year and the floodwaters lasted an average of 14 days. The flood events most severely affected crop fields, housing, and infrastructure and also inflicted loss of human life. Accesses to food and water, education, income and housing have reduced due to flood events in Kano Plains while morbidity rates have increased. Hypotheses tests show that there is no relationship between flood frequency and flood duration in Lower Kano Plains. The chi-square test rejected the hypothesis that stated ‗‗there is no difference in the effect of flood events and impacts of flood on poverty indices‘‘. The households used different coping mechanisms that were found not to be effective in reducing flood induced effects. The study concluded that flood is a major cause of household poverty in Kano Plains and recommended effective response to floods early warning systems and capacity building on flood coping strategies.