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A local-scale analysis to understand differences in socioeconomic factors affecting economic loss due to floods among different communities

Investigation of the relationships between socioeconomic factors and water-related disasters, such as floods, is rather complex. The general practice is to undertake a qualitative analysis of the impact of socioeconomic factors on economic loss in disasters, while climate and structural impacts are investigated quantitatively. As such, an integrated approach is timely for understanding socioeconomic influences on economic loss due to floods. This paper is an attempt to understand the influence of different factors on economic loss, in different types of floods, among different economic groups, using a quantitative approach. Data was collected using a questionnaire survey delivered to randomly selected households in Rathnapura, Sri Lanka, in September 2017. Path analysis was used to analyze the influence of socioeconomic status on economic loss due to floods, using an effective sample of 231 households after subdividing the sample into poor and non-poor subcategories, based on socioeconomic condition. The results suggest that flood characteristics and household income level have a direct impact on economic loss in severe floods for both economic groups, with more significant impacts among poor households. Even for minor floods, inundation depth is the most significant factor affecting relative loss, irrespective of the economic group. Further, the absolute loss difference between poor and non-poor households is 48% of the loss experienced by non-poor households in severe floods, and 10% of the loss due to minor floods. These results indicate that severe floods increase the economic gap between the poor and non-poor cohorts. Through this analysis, it is concluded that floods exacerbate the economic gap between poor and non-poor communities, while the factors affecting economic loss due to floods differ among the different economic groups.
Author: De Silva, M.M.G.T.;Kawasaki, Akiyuki
Language: English
Pubished By: International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Pubished date: March 2020

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