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Coping with flood hazards in cameroon: the role of community based strategies


Sociology International Journal
Theobald Mue Nji,1 Roland Azibo Balgah,2 Emmanuel Yenshu Vubo3

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Abstract

Floods are increasingly rupturing livelihoods in Cameroon. Very often, flood victims develop a plethora of strategies to cope with their aftermaths, given that state and market mechanisms are often insufficient to buffer flood shocks. If strategies embedded in community interactions can reduce suffering, then they are likely to compensate for the shortcomings of state and market institutions, rampant in developing countries. We assess the role of community based strategies to support floods-affected households to cope with recurrent floods in two geo-ecological zones in Cameroon. 1445 systematically drawn household heads participated in the quantitative part from the two zones (816 from the western highlands and 629 from the sudano-sahelian upland geo-ecological zones), using a structured questionnaire. 72 In-depth Interviews (IDIs) and 24 Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were also conducted. The results reveal that in addition to socioeconomic variables and very limited state support, community based strategies (e.g. placing barriers around the house, temporal displacement of children to safer havens, informal savings, migration, and social networks) consistently and significantly influenced the coping choices of flood victims, irrespective of geo-ecological zone (p=0.00). Based on these results, we suggest that at lower levels of development, community based strategies should be integrated into long term flood-coping strategies in the researched geo-ecological zones in Cameroon.

Keywords

Floods, geo-ecological zone, cameroon, ?ooding, ascholera, diarrhoea, droughts, tropical cyclones, sudano-sahelian

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