Wading out the storm: the role of poverty in exposure, vulnerability and resilience to floods in Dar Es Salaam

Dar es Salaam is frequently affected by severe flooding causing destruction and impeding daily life of its 4.5 million inhabitants. The focus of this paper is on the role of poverty in the impact of floods on households, focusing on both direct (damage to or loss of assets or property) and indirect (losses involving health, infrastructure, labor, and education) impacts using household survey data. Poorer households are more likely to be affected by floods; directly affected households are more likely female-headed and have more insecure tenure arrangements; and indirectly affected households tend to have access to poorer quality infrastructure. Focusing on the floods of April 2018, affected households suffered losses of 23 percent of annual income on average. Surprisingly, poorer households are not over-represented among the households that lost the most - even in relation to their income, possibly because 77 percent of total losses were due to asset losses, with richer households having more valuable assets. Although indirect losses were relatively small, they had significant well-being effects for the affected households. It is estimated that households’ losses due to the April 2018 flood reached more than US$100 million, representing between 2-4 percent of the gross domestic product of Dar es Salaam. Furthermore, poorer households were less likely to recover from flood exposure. The report finds that access to finance play an important role in recovery for households.

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