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Flooding in Informal Settlements: Potentials and Limits for Household Adaptation in Dar es Salaam City, Tanzania

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Document pages: 19 pages

Abstract: Rapid urbanization and climate change are compounding the vulnerability of the urban poor to natural hazards, particularly in the global south. Large number of the population in cities of developing countries live in informal settlements characterized with lack of infrastructure facilities and services. Majority of the informal settlements are located in risk areas such as low-lying lands and river banks whereby climatic threats associated with flooding are common. The urban informal settlements are thus disproportionately more vulnerable due to their greater exposure associated with their geophysical location, under-invested infrastructure facilities as well as poor housing quality. While it is widely acknowledged that the need to adapt to climate change related hazards such as flooding is no longer an option, literature suggests that potentials and opportunities for adaptation are unevenly distributed among global regions, communities, sectors, ecological systems as well as across different time periods. This study sought to explore the potentials and limits of households living in flood prone in an informal settlement of Magomeni Suna, Dar es Salaam Tanzania. The study employed a mixed method research design using both quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis. Quantitative data were collected through a structured questionnaire administered to 199 randomly selected respondents, while non participant observation was used to capture information related to household physical adaptation measures. Key informant interviews were used to elicit data from purposively selected representatives of government and other local institutions. Two focus group discussions supplemented the data collected through the other methods. The results show that households employ multiple options for flood adaptation ranging from structural measures aimed at preventing flood water from entering the houses, to action oriented strategies such as relocation. The results also highlight there exist potentials like strong social networks, cohesive communities, and presence of various local institutions willing to support household responses to floods. Limitations to flood adaptation include little support and ad hoc intervention by government authorities, as well as meagre household income. To enhance household adaptation to flood hazards, policy measures towards enhancing social networks and community actions for flood adaptation are necessary. There is also a need to enhance multi institutional involvement as well as promote local livelihoods so as to improve household adaptation to floods.

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