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Impacts of Climatic Disasters in Coastal Bangladesh: Why Does Private Adaptive Capacity Differ? Regional Environmental Change 12:169-190

Author(s): Saroar MM, Routray JK

Abstract

This paper quantitatively assesses the influences of various demographic and socio-economic factors, past adaptive behavioral factors, access to weather/climate information, and spatial/locational factors on coastal populations’ perceived adaptive capacity against major impacts of hydro-meteorological disasters on their livelihood. A total of 285 respondents from three coastal villages in Bangladesh were randomly interviewed between January and April 2009. Respondents rated their perceived adaptive capacity against 25 anticipated impacts of sea-level rise (SLR)-induced events on their livelihood. By employing the principal component analysis (PCA), perceived adaptive capacity was grouped into five major categories. Then, an adaptive capacity index for each of five major impacts, namely, “infrastructure damage and disrupted mobility,” “food and nutritional insecurity,” “low earning and higher cost of maintenance,” “loss of employment in offshore activities,” and “crisis of potable water and public health risk,” was prepared. How adaptive capacity against each of these major five categories of impacts differs due to the influence of various factors was assessed by employing the multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) technique. The MANOVAs show that age, sex, level of education, type of occupation, farmland holdings, past adaptive behavior against rainfall, salinity intrusion, freshwater crises, use of radio for weather information, and the distance of the homestead from the shoreline have varying levels of influence on respondents’ perceived adaptive capacity against each of the five major categories of impacts. Others factors have moderate to limited influences. The policy implication is that specific programs, rather than a generic one-size fits all program, must be initiated for enhancement of adaptive capacity against specific impacts.

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