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Assessing socio-economic vulnerability to climate change-induced disasters: evidence from Sundarban Biosphere Reserve, India

posted on 10.12.2019, 13:52 by Mehebub Sahana, Sufia Rehman, Ashish Kumar Paul, Haroon Sajjad

Indian Sundarban Biosphere Reserve (SBR), a fragile ecosystem, is susceptible to frequent cyclones, floods, and storm surge. The study impeccably analyzed the socio-economic vulnerability in SBR using pragmatic approach. Average storm surge height, slope amount, flood inundation, drainage proximity, and drainage density were used for assessing exposure while sensitivity and adaptation were examined from the data derived through a comprehensive field survey of 570 households in SBR. The revelation of the study manifested very high vulnerability in Basanti, Gosaba, Kultali, Namkhana, and Patharpratima blocks and high vulnerability in Kakdwip, Sagar, and Hingalganj blocks of SBR. Constant exposure to cyclones and storm surges, frivolous infrastructural setup, impoverish social structure, and lamentation of losses are major barriers to overall socio-economic upliftment of communities. Consolidated infrastructural setup, proper early warning system, disaster monitoring centres, better transport connectivity within remote islands, better livelihood opportunities, education, and awareness may help in improving the socio-economic conditions of the communities. Pragmatic approach assisted in the cogent understanding of climate change impacts and indicated adaptive and mitigation measures to improve coastal society in SBR. Thus, the approach has proven to be effective for analyzing the impact of climate change-induced hazards on socio-economic condition on the communities in coastal areas.