Beyond the risks to food availability – linking climatic hazard vulnerability with the food access of delta-dwelling households

Islam, M.M. ORCID: 0000-0002-5404-6958 and Mamun, M.A.A., 2019. Beyond the risks to food availability – linking climatic hazard vulnerability with the food access of delta-dwelling households. Food Security. ISSN 1876-4517

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Although climate-driven hazards have been widely implicated as a key threat to food security in the delta regions of the developing world, the empirical basis of this assertion has centred predominantly on the food availability dimension of food security. Little is known if climatic hazards could affect the food access of delta-resident households and who is likely to be at risk and why. We explored these questions by using the data from a sample of households resident within the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) delta in Bangladesh. We used an index-based analytical approach by drawing on the vulnerability and food security literature. We computed separate vulnerability indices for flood, cyclone, and riverbank erosion and assessed their effects on household food access through regression modelling. All three vulnerability types demonstrated significant negative effects on food access; however, only flood vulnerability could significantly reduce a household’s food access below an acceptable threshold. Households that were less dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods – including unskilled day labourers and grocery shop owners – were significantly more likely to have unacceptable level of food access due to floods. Adaptive capacity, measured as a function of household asset endowments, proved more important in explaining food access than the exposure-sensitivity to flood itself. Accordingly, we argue that improving food security in climatic hazard-prone areas of developing country deltas would require moving beyond agriculture or natural resources focus and promoting hazard-specific, all-inclusive and livelihood-focused asset-building interventions. We provide an example of a framework for such interventions and reflect on our analytical approach.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Food Security
Creators: Islam, M.M. and Mamun, M.A.A.
Publisher: Springer
Date: 5 December 2019
ISSN: 1876-4517
Rights: © The Author(s) 2019. Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 28 Jan 2020 11:09
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2020 11:09

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