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Academy of IRMBR Volume  3, September, 2015
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Natural Disasters, Vulnerability and Livelihood Security in Rural Cameroon
Increasing occurrence of natural disasters is having immense impacts on livelihood security especially in developing countries. While it is generally accepted that these impacts will be stronger in developing countries, empirical evidence is scarce. The objective of this paper is to empirically compare the livelihood security status of victims and non-victims of the 1986 natural disaster in rural Cameroon. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data from 296 victims and non-victims from three disaster affected villages and three resettlement camps in North West Cameroon. Livelihood security was estimated at household level based on the World Bank’s per capita income value of US $ 1.25. The impact of a possible shock requiring 10% of household assets to accommodate it was simulated to access the vulnerability of households to future livelihood insecurity. The results revealed that victims were not essentially different from non-victims from a livelihood security perspective, even if less non-victims (94%) were livelihood insecure compared to victims (97%). Combining income and assets, 90% of non-victims were found to become insecure in case of a simulated shock, up from 44%, compared to almost 94% of victims, up from 49%. The research concludes with the need for livelihood security programs to be directed to all households in the Lake Nyos area, irrespective of their type. Key Words: Natural Disasters, Vulnerability, Livelihood Security, Sustainable Development, Rural Cameroon.

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