The paper explores climate change induced hydro hazards and its impact on tribal communities in Majuli (largest river island of Brahmaputra River Basin). The island has been experiencing recurrent floods, erosion, and siltation, which has distressed the socio-economic foundation and livelihood of the Mishing—a indigenous community on Northeast India, leading to out migration from the island. The indicators selected to capture the vulnerability of the island to climate change are dependency ratio; occurrence of natural hazards (floods) and coping methods; income of the household; and livelihood diversification. To gather the quantitative and qualitative data on these parameters the methods was designed to conduct both sample survey of households and focus group discussions. The findings reveal that in the selected villages, the dependency ratio is 4 (dependents): 1 (earning member); average income of the household is low i.e. $ 40/month and is declining as compared to last few years because of frequent floods, erosion and siltation that has decreased farm productivity which is the main source of income. The impact of changing climate and heightened flood and erosion risk to farmlands has been forced migration to cities and neighboring urban centers like Jorhar for stable livelihood. Therefore, we propose that a possible way to enhance social resilience to changing climate and vagaries of monsoon (tropical disturbances) is to promote alternative occupation like eco-tourism as (Majuli is the center of Vaisnavism and Satras in Northeast India) and invest in adaptive strategies to mitigate flood by incorporating lay and place-based knowledge of the Mishing community in flood management. Also facilitate community’s participation and awareness towards hydro hazards based on flood proof housing focusing on indigenous knowledge.
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