Periodic river floods have devastating social and economic impacts on poor households in the low-lying coastal and western regions of Kenya. This paper focuses on how households in Bunyala District coped with the impacts of flooding, and particularly the December 2011 River Nzoia flood. The data for the study was collected through a survey of 400 households, three focus group discussions, four in-depth interviews and six key informant interviews. Of the surveyed household-heads, 393 (98.4%) reported negative impacts of the flood on farming, livestock and/or property. Coping strategies at household level included temporary relocation and migration, reduced expenditure on household needs, engagement in extra income-generating activities, selling of property and reliance on support from public and private agencies. The findings reveal that many of the coping measures that people use are erosive, as they have negative long-term effects on household livelihood sustainability.
Keywords: loss and damage, adaptation, agriculture, climate change, coping, erosive coping, extreme weather event, floods, livelihoods, Kenya, Africa