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An indicator based approach to assess coastal communities’ resilience against climate related disasters in Indian Sundarbans

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The article attempts to develop a five dimensional community resilience assessment framework and a composite resilience index against climate related disasters with special applications to the coastal rural communities’ in the developing world. Consequently, it narrates the case study of Indian Sundarbans, which serves as a typical example of a complex & dynamic ‘socio-ecological’ system characterized by dense mangrove forests, high population density and recurrent climate related disasters. In the present study, ‘community resilience’ of 19 coastal administrative blocks of Indian Sundarbans were assessed through a systematic questionnaire survey of administrative officials and the composite resilience scores were found to vary between 2.51 and 3.63 in a five point scale. Out of the 19 coastal blocks only one could be classified as high resilient block and the rest were found to be in low to moderate resilience categories. In general, the extreme coastal blocks were found to be less resilient due to their high exposure & developmental deficit, however, at the same time, the study finds strong correlation of institutional interventions & effective coastal zone management in enhancing the overall resilience scores. The study concludes with broad recommendation of integrated planning for disaster & climate resilience in this eco-fragile region where low impact economic development remains at the central.

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The first author greatly acknowledges the MEXT (MONBUKAGAKUSHO) scholarship provided by the Japanese Government for conducting research in the Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies of Kyoto University. The authors would also like to thank the district administrative officials for their administrative support during the field survey at Indian Sundarbans. In this regard, the continuous support of GCOE-ARS program and CoHHO program (Studies on the Connectivity of Hilltop, Human and Ocean) of Kyoto University is thankfully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Rajarshi DasGupta.

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DasGupta, R., Shaw, R. An indicator based approach to assess coastal communities’ resilience against climate related disasters in Indian Sundarbans. J Coast Conserv 19, 85–101 (2015).

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