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Indicator Approach to Assessing Climate Change Vulnerability of Communities in Kenya: A Case Study of Kitui County

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Document pages: 15 pages

Abstract: Community vulnerability to climate change can be conceptualized as an aggregate of three vulnerability components: exposure to climatic stress, sensitivity to climate stress and adaptive capacity. However, even within similar regions these vulnerability components are spatially differentiated necessitating the understanding of a regions vulnerability pattern before targeting adaptation assistance. This research sought to understand the differentiated vulnerability patterns of communities in Kitui County as well as the existing coping strategies to guide implementation of adaptation assistance. Indicator approach to vulnerability assessment and focus group discussions were used to understand the vulnerability pattern and coping strategies respectively. Results showed a differentiated vulnerability pattern with a west to east gradient across Kitui County. The pattern exhibited less vulnerability scores on the western and central parts and more vulnerability scores on the eastern and northern parts of the County. Existing coping strategies have become inadequate with increasing climate variability, severity and frequency of extreme climate events, which render the communities even more vulnerable. The patterns of vulnerability can guide appropriate targeting of adaptation assistance and in turn lead to improved climate change resilience and community livelihoods.

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