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THE CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES OF FLOOD ON THE SOCIO - ECONOMIC LIVELIHOOD OF URBAN AREAS OF KENYA

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THE CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES OF FLOOD ON THE SOCIO - ECONOMIC LIVELIHOOD OF URBAN AREAS OF KENYA

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

Extreme weather and climate events influence the welfare of the society and entire economy of the region with floods having the highest adverse effects. The sectors that experience the immediate effects include agriculture, health, and water resources among others. However, urban flooding causes a major economic loss and casualties worldwide. In Kenya, high population caused by rural-urban migration, unemployment and unplanned urban development are among factors that increase flood vulnerability and risk (Balam 2019).

Additionally, urbanization has also become a major cause of flooding in urban areas (Zhang, 2019) such that, a river is more likely to flood when its drainage basin is in an urban area. Likewise, inadequate drainage in some urban areas is a major cause of flooding, while in others, it is the lack of proper management of the drainage systems.

Beyond that, as the process of urbanization is happening, this comes along with a higher flood risk that results from activities that include deforestation, buildings and constructions lacking appropriate plans that humans indulge in, it is worth noting that urban flooding mainly occurs in populated areas (Ologunorisa 2004). Between the years 1993 and 2015, about 2.3 billion people’s lives got affected by floods, thereby accounting for about 47% of all global weather-related disasters (UNISDR 2015). The issue of flooding including its many impacts is a vital consideration for various professions such as farmers, engineers, and economists, thereby making leading headlines worldwide and in Kenya (Otomofa et al. 2015).

Further more, flooding stands as a prominent hazard in Kenya, it has often received inadequate attention. Since 1963, the occurrence of floods has led to significant losses. For instance, in the past two decades, thousands of lives have been lost due to floods and flood-related incidents. Similarly, factors such as unemployment and urbanization have driven many Kenyans to migrate to urban centers like Nairobi, Mombasa, Kitale, Kisumu among others exerting pressure on housing resources and resulting in the establishment of informal settlements that are risky and unsuitable for habitation. This is exacerbated by the fact that many of these structures are constructed in vulnerable areas like waterways, riverbanks, and floodplains. The absence of well-planned urban development, particularly in Nairobi, further compounds the strain on the limited existing housing, compelling landlords and business owners to erect inexpensive, yet unsafe, structures.

However, floods impact on both individuals and communities, and have social, economic, and environmental consequences. The consequences of floods, both negative and positive, vary greatly depending on the location and extent of flooding, and the vulnerability and value of the natural and constructed environments they affect. Moreover, most people are well aware of the immediate impacts of flooding include loss of human life, damage to property, destruction of crops, loss of livestock, and deterioration of health conditions owing to waterborne diseases. Also, communication links and infrastructure such as power plants, roads and bridges are damaged and disrupted, as some economic activities may come to a standstill, and people are forced to leave their homes.

Similarly, flooding can lead to disruption of industry, farming activities among others and this can lead to loss of livelihoods. Also, damage to infrastructure also causes long-term impacts, such as disruptions to supplies of clean water, wastewater treatment, electricity, transport, communication, education and health care causes long-term impacts on the region. In addition, reduction in purchasing power and loss of land value in the floodplains can leave communities economically vulnerable.Therefore, a survey will be conducted in order to find out the causes and consequences of flood on the socio-economic livelihood of urban areas of Kenya.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The consequences of flood are costly when compared to other natural hazards, apart from death, disease outbreak is a likely occurrence, especially in less developed countries. However, floods disrupt transportation networks and impede progress in infrastructure development projects and political processes.

In addition, Charles (2019), the economic repercussions of natural disasters have shown a noticeable increase in recent decades, with a disproportionate impact on communities in developing and least developed countries. Lei and Kargel (2019) assert that floods result in loss of human life, destruction of social and economic infrastructure, and the degradation of already fragile ecosystems. Consequently, floods bring about social impacts, including alterations in people's lifestyles, culture, community dynamics, political systems, environment, health, well-being, personal and property rights, and their concerns and aspirations.

Furthermore, Rahman (2019) has established that floods pose significant challenges for the sustained functioning of specific households and businesses in affected communities. The type of construction in a given area significantly influences the extent of flood damage, with thatched homes being more vulnerable compared to concrete high-rise buildings, each experiencing varying levels of impact. Thus, the concept of vulnerability plays a critical role in assessing the consequences of floods, as different population segments face distinct levels of risk based on their socioeconomic vulnerabilities. Consequently, flood mitigation measures are increasingly associated with endeavors aimed at achieving sustainable development. Additionally, the interplay between flood disasters and economic systems has become another pivotal consideration for sustainable development. Although it is impossible to completely prevent floods, their devastating impacts can be significantly mitigated when advanced warning systems are in place. It is in the light of these that the study seeks to find out the causes and consequences of flood on the socio-economic livelihood of urban areas of Kenya.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to find out the causes and consequences of flood on the socio-economic livelihood of urban areas of Kenya. Specifically, the study will;

  1. Ascertain the causes of flood in urban communities in Kenya.

  2. Determine the effect of flood on socioeconomic development of urban areas in Kenya.

  3. Ascertain the extent flooding affects the socioeconomic livelihood of urban community residents in Kenya.

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions have been prepared for the study:

  1. What are the causes of flooding in urban communities in Kenya?

  2. How does flooding impact the socioeconomic development of urban areas in Kenya?

  3. To what extent does flooding affect the socioeconomic livelihood of residents in urban communities in Kenya?

1.5 Significant of the Study

The research will provide valuable insights to the government and engineering professionals regarding the adoption of flood prevention methods. These methods may include the construction of reservoirs, river channels, natural detention basins, inter-basin water transfer systems, as well as the building of levees and flood walls. It will also help in creating an action plan for mitigation techniques based on the viewpoints acquired. Furthermore, media outlets will be able to use this data to better teach the public about weather, the importance of monitoring rivers and drainage systems, and flood hazards and mitigation strategies.

Additionally, subsequent researchers will use it as a literature review. This means that other students who may decide to conduct studies in this area will have the opportunity to use this study as available literature that can be subjected to critical review. Invariably, the result of the study contributes immensely to the body of academic knowledge with regard to the causes and consequences of flood on the socio-economic livelihood of urban areas of Kenya.

1.6 Scope of the study

The scope of this study is boarded on the causes and consequences of flood on the socio-economic livelihood of urban areas of Kenya. Theoretically, this study will ascertain the causes of flood in urban communities in Kenya, determine the effect of flood on socioeconomic development of urban areas in Kenya and ascertain the extent flooding affects the socioeconomic livelihood of urban community residents in Kenya.

Geographically, the study will be delimited to residents of Kisumu, Kenya



1.7 Limitation of the study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents.

In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed.

More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other schools, local governments, states, and other countries in the world.

1.8 Definition of Terms

Flood: is caused by a combination of heavy rainfall causing river / oceans to over flow their banks, and can happen at any time of the year.

Consequences: a result or effect, typically one that is unwelcome or unpleasant.

Socio- economic: relating to or concerned with the interaction of social and economic factors.

Livelihood: a means of securing the necessities of life.

Urban areas: refer to towns, cities, and suburbs. An urban area includes the city itself, as well as the surrounding areas.


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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  • Methodology: Yes available


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