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Vulnerability and Capacity Analysis of Communities Amando López and Octavio Ortiz in the Lower Lempa Valley

Abstract

In the past few years great disasters following climatic extreme events have increased in El Salvador. They tend to be portrayed by national media as naturaland unavoidable,building a barrier to effective adaptation to climate change. This work summarizes research done on capacities and vulnerabilities of two Salvadorian campesinocommunities prone to annual flooding.

Results show that community vulnerabilities are based on unsatisfied basic needs such as poor access to education, health service, public infrastructure and constant food insecurity. Capacities of farmers are evident in their 19 adaptation strategies at work, presenting 26 other adaptation proposals for the future.

There are initiatives combining traditional and innovative approaches based on disaster risk reduction, climate-resilient livelihoods and capacity development, also addressing underlying causes of vulnerability. Capacity assessment in state institutions for the implementation of national adaptation strategies shows, however, insufficient comprehension of the poverty/vulnerability relationship. Governmental support for rural areas is almost non-existent and developmentprojects for national economic growth often generate new local risks. With most productive land in the hands of small farmers, community-based adaptation to enhance resilience of vulnerable communities is, for the time being, one of the most effective implementation approaches to adaptation to climate change in rural areas of El Salvador.

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