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Urban ARK 4: Small disasters erode household resilience: the absorptive capacity of flood-prone households in Niamey, Niger

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Urban resilience is a product of the capacity of households to absorb stress, adapt to, and transform scope for action in managing risk. This brief outlines a new methodology developed to investigate aspects of resilience in very poor urban contexts where economic assets are universally constrained. It was developed in response to requests from Save the Children to explore scope for adapting a rural food security monitoring tool, the Household Economy Approach (HEA), to urban contexts. The new methodology was applied in Niamey, Niger to a study examining the resilience of households in areas of the city subjected to flooding every rainy season. This brief presents the method, findings, and lessons learnt. Results identified low levels of resilience amongst flood-exposed households associated with inequalities in social capital ties and variable access to food and security post flood. Responding to loss, households expended savings and took on debt. The brief also outlines priority areas for planning interventions and supporting resilience building for low-income urban households.

This brief is based on the journal article: Soumana, Boubacar, Mark Pelling, Alejandro Barcena and Raphaëlla Montandon (2017), "The erosive effects of small disasters on household absorptive capacity in Niamey: a nested HEA approach", Environment and Urbanization Vol. 29, No. 1 (April 2017) http://journals.sagepub.com/home/eau

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Environment and Urbanization Vol. 29, No. 1
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G04117