Development and validation of risk profiles of West African rural communities facing multiple natural hazards

Asare-Kyei, D., Renaud, F. G. , Kloos, J., Walz, Y. and Rhyner, J. (2017) Development and validation of risk profiles of West African rural communities facing multiple natural hazards. PLoS ONE, 12(3), e0171921. (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0171921) (PMID:28248969) (PMCID:PMC5382969)

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West Africa has been described as a hotspot of climate change. The reliance on rain-fed agriculture by over 65% of the population means that vulnerability to climatic hazards such as droughts, rainstorms and floods will continue. Yet, the vulnerability and risk levels faced by different rural social-ecological systems (SES) affected by multiple hazards are poorly understood. To fill this gap, this study quantifies risk and vulnerability of rural communities to drought and floods. Risk is assessed using an indicator-based approach. A stepwise methodology is followed that combines participatory approaches with statistical, remote sensing and Geographic Information System techniques to develop community level vulnerability indices in three watersheds (Dano, Burkina Faso; Dassari, Benin; Vea, Ghana). The results show varying levels of risk profiles across the three watersheds. Statistically significant high levels of mean risk in the Dano area of Burkina Faso are found whilst communities in the Dassari area of Benin show low mean risk. The high risk in the Dano area results from, among other factors, underlying high exposure to droughts and rainstorms, longer dry season duration, low caloric intake per capita, and poor local institutions. The study introduces the concept of community impact score (CIS) to validate the indicator-based risk and vulnerability modelling. The CIS measures the cumulative impact of the occurrence of multiple hazards over five years. 65.3% of the variance in observed impact of hazards/CIS was explained by the risk models and communities with high simulated disaster risk generally follow areas with high observed disaster impacts. Results from this study will help disaster managers to better understand disaster risk and develop appropriate, inclusive and well integrated mitigation and adaptation plans at the local level. It fulfills the increasing need to balance global/regional assessments with community level assessments where major decisions against risk are actually taken and implemented.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Renaud, Professor Fabrice
Authors: Asare-Kyei, D., Renaud, F. G., Kloos, J., Walz, Y., and Rhyner, J.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Journal Name:PLoS ONE
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISSN (Online):1932-6203
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 Asare-Kyei et al.
First Published:Firstpublished in PLoS ONE 12(3):e0171921
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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