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The erosive effects of small disasters on household absorptive capacity in Niamey: a nested HEA approach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Soumana Boubacar, Mark Pelling, Alejandro Barcena, Raphaella Montandon

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-50
Number of pages17
JournalEnvironment and Urbanization
Issue number1
Early online date1 Feb 2017
Accepted/In press1 Feb 2017
E-pub ahead of print1 Feb 2017
Published1 Apr 2017


King's Authors


The Household Economy Approach (HEA) is a tool routinely used to monitor household-level vulnerability to food security shocks in rural sub-Saharan Africa. Efforts are now focused on applying the HEA in urban contexts. Previous work has shown specific limitations to this method when applied to cities, where livelihoods are diverse, social capital is especially important for managing shocks, and multiple hazards interact. The paper proposes a household resilience assessment tool that incorporates elements of the HEA to provide potential for a joined-up rural–urban output, but that includes additional data and specific analytical approaches in recognition of urban contexts. The tool is piloted in Niamey, Niger. The experience showed collection of the required data to be challenging. 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. This has implications for focused resilience building and flood response planning.

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