Socio-economic determinants of integrated floods management for vulnerability reduction in Kano Plains, Kisumu County, Kenya
Odero, Naomi Auma
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For several decades floods have continuously threatened communities’ livelihoods and caused destruction to properties and the ecosystem as a whole. In an attempt to minimize the destructive nature of these events, different flood mitigation strategies have been employed. Nevertheless, the challenge with these strategies employed is that they seldom give audience to the affected people, instead focusing on technical solutions. Of importance is the integrated floods management approach which puts local knowledge into consideration. Although some studies have emphasized the need to have this incorporated with technical expertise in order to get more lasting solutions to the negative flood effects, much work still needs to be done. This study was conducted in the Nyando sub-catchment, Kano Plains in Kisumu County, Kenya. The study addressed the following specific objectives: (i) To establish the flood risk areas of Kano plains in Nyando sub-catchment (ii) To assess the socio-economic determinants of community vulnerability to floods in flood risk areas (iii) To determine the effects and vulnerability of flood events in flood risk areas and (iv) To evaluate the effectiveness of existing mitigation measures for flood management. The study utilized both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Stratified sampling technique was used to select the three flood prone areas in Kano Plains, namely, Nyando, Miwani and Lower Nyakach as study sites. Simple random sampling technique was then used to select 100 households for the survey. Purposive sampling was used to select the key informants. Methods of data collection included questionnaires, key informant interviews, focus group discussions (FGDs), GIS-integrated participatory community mapping and desk reviews. Weighted analysis was done for the land cover, DEM, soil and river datasets as corroborative data for the community identified flood risk areas. Descriptive statistics was used to analyze the questionnaires, and the qualitative data from key informant interviews was analyzed using content analysis method. FGDs recordings were transcribed and analyzed thematically using NVIVO software. The main research findings were that 65.93% of respondents in this study live at the downstream of river Nyando, of which 60.00% resided in Nyando Sub County, thus exacerbating the risk to floods. Secondly household income was found to be the most significant factor with a likelihood ratio of p=0.026, in determining flood vulnerability the other factor was type of housing with a likelihood ratio of p=0.002. Thirdly, loss of farmland (17.98%), houses and property (69.66%) were considered the most serious effects of floods. Fourthly, 100% of the respondents agreed that construction of dykes/dams was a very effective flood mitigation measure. The study therefore concludes that socio economic determinants such as household income, household size and type of housing have a significant role in determining household vulnerability to floods. The study recommends an integrated approach to floods management through government led initiatives that incorporate local knowledge. Finally, the watershed managers must prioritize activities and interventions such as policy changes that will help effectively use and manage flood plains.