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Health vulnerability to flood-induced risks of households in flood-prone informal settlements in the Coastal City of Mombasa, Kenya

Floods have serious consequences on community well-being and health. This study was intended to address the health vulnerability of households in flood prone informal settlements in the coastal city of Mombasa in Kenya and their adaptation measures. Mombasa City has a history of floods, in the recent past, significant severe incidences of flooding events have already been experienced. However, there is dearth of evidence regarding vulnerability of households living in informal settlements in the city to the health risks of flooding and households’ coping mechanisms. The study participants were randomly drawn from three purposively selected informal settlements in Mombasa City. Health vulnerability was assessed in terms of flood exposure, flood sensitivity, and flood adaptive capacity. While adaptation measures were explored based on the autonomous steps that household have adapted in response to flooding. Primary data were collected using questionnaires, Key Informant Interviews and Focus Group Discussions. The findings showed that up to 40.8% of the households had a high level of vulnerability, 46.9% had a medium level, while only 12.3% had low level of vulnerability. The findings also showed that household characteristics, water, sanitation and environmental risk factors had an impact on the level of household vulnerability. As coping mechanisms, households had taken some adaptation measures like clearing trenches to unblock drainage channels and piling sand bags around the house. The study concludes that for poor people living in flood prone areas in urban setting, flood early warnings, flood preventive actions and long term mitigation strategies need to be strengthened since they are exposed to greater health problems. The findings of the study are expected to help communities and local support agencies to identify weaknesses, especially in adaptive capacities, and to indicate ways of reducing future health vulnerability of residents of informal settlements to flooding.
Author: Okoth Okaka, Fredrick;Odhiambo, Beneah D. O.
Language: English
Pubished By: Natural Hazards
Pubished date: October 2019

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