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Climate extremes, location vulnerability and private costs of property protection in Southwestern Cameroon

  • Ernest L. Molua
Original Article

Abstract

This study contends that climatic events such as storms and floods may significantly impact on cost of protection through climate proofing of housing structures along the Atlantic coastal zone in the Southwest region of Cameroon. Household level protection is purposely examined on the rationale that current protective efforts constitute the building blocks for long-term adaptation. Examining the determinants of the cost of current protection stands good stead to better inform policy to promote future adaptation to climatic stress. Hence, from a research sample of 400 households, the study estimates a function that relates household-level protection costs to their characteristics. Sixty-four percent of the homes studied have been hit at least once by strong winds, and an average of 2 times in the last 5 years, and 36% of houses have once been hit by storm surge from the sea nearby. With an average monthly income of 120.000 FCFA (US$ 285), the coastal residents spend on average 145,500 FCFA (US$ 346) in preparation against floods. The statistical estimates of the cost function reveal significant positive signs, implying that the experiences and location of homes within floodplain increases the cost of protection no matter the structural characteristics of the house. The study observes that the proximity to the coast and in flood plains significantly increases the cost of protection, and the ability to invest in preventive measures and climate proofing housing structures increase as individual income grows. The findings indicate the need for improvement of monitoring and forecasting systems for floods, intensification of awareness and proper urban planning. The policy implications are reinforced by the low incomes of most residents, as this calls for external assistance through transfer of planning skills, capital and public options to reinforce the resilience and choices made at the household level.

Keywords

Climate Coastal residents Housing structures Protection costs Cameroon 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The research leading to this article was funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) under the initiative and coordination of the Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy in Africa (CEEPA). Appreciation goes to the researchers and resource scientists at CEEPA’s Biannual Research Workshops on their comments on earlier drafts of the manuscript. Further appreciation goes to the reviewers. Any flaws this article may contain are the sole responsibility of the author.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agricultural Economics and AgribusinessUniversity of BueaBueaCameroon

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