Assessing the livelihood vulnerability of farmers to floods (case study: Lorestan province)

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Faculty of Agriculture, Lorestan University

2 Associatet Prof., Department of agricultural economics and rural development, Lorestan University, Lorestan, Iran

3 Department of agricultural economics and rural development, Lorestan University, Khorramabad


Climate change and its effects on livelihood have become the main area of concern in the scientific and political community. Climate change is predicted to have severe consequences for societies and economies (Sujakhu et al., 2019). Floods are one of the most common and widespread geo-environmental disasters worldwide, which mostly occur in Asia (Shokri et al., 2020). Iran is the sixth country prone to natural disasters in the world. Most of the natural disasters in Iran occur in rural areas, which cause many damages to the residents of the villages due to the weak facilities in these areas (Rostami et al., 2021; Darban astane et al., 2018). This article tries to identify the key factors determining vulnerability in three regions of Lorestan province (Khorramabad, Pol-e Dokhtar and Chegani) using an index-based approach. By providing a relative vulnerability ranking for selected areas, it aims to encourage investment in adaptation strategies that are better suited to population needs. Using livelihood vulnerability index, this research shows the unique aspects that determine the vulnerability of regions against climate change. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to evaluate the livelihood vulnerability of farmers to floods in Lorestan province.

This research is of descriptive-survey type. The statistical population of this research includes the heads of flooded rural households in the three counties of Khorramabad, Chegani and Pol-e Dokhtar of Lorestan province, which according to the statistics of Lorestan Agricultural Jihad, their number is 6755 households. The statistical sample size was determined using Cochran's formula of 360 households in the three studied counties (n = 360). But since the samples were located in three different regions, it was decided to select an equal number of 100 people from each city as a sample. So finally 300 questionnaires were completed. Probability sampling with systematic random method was used to select the samples. A researcher-made questionnaire was used to collect information. To assess the content validity, the questionnaire was given to seven experts in agriculture and rural development. The validity of the questionnaire was assessed by examining Cronbach's alpha coefficients for each of the research scales. In this study, Livelihood Vulnerability Index (LVI) was used to calculate the livelihood vulnerability of rural households to floods. This index was presented by Han et al. (2009), which includes seven main components, and each main component consists of a number of sub-components. Statistical analysis was performed with Microsoft Excel, SPSS 26.0

Regarding the socio-demographic index, the results showed that Khorramabad city has a much better situation than Pol-e Dokhtar and Chegani counties. In terms of livelihood strategies index, knowledge and information and health, respectively, Pol-e Dokhtar and Khorramabad counties had the most vulnerable situation, while Chegani county had a better situation. Regarding the index of social networks, Pol-e Dokhtar and Chegani counties had the worst situation. Regarding the food index, the situation was completely different, Khorramabad county was the worst and then Chegani county was not interesting. Regarding the index of natural disasters and climate change, the results showed that Chegani county and then Pol-e Dokhtar county are the most vulnerable areas. Also, the results of assessing the livelihood vulnerability of rural households showed that the flooded farmers of the villages of Pol-e Dokhtar are the most vulnerable in terms of livelihood, followed by Chegani, but Khorram Abad has a relatively better situation.

Pol-e Dokhtar county had the most female heads of households. Households in this county were only engaged in agriculture and animal husbandry and had no other occupation. This lack of income source diversity can increase livelihood vulnerability to floods, because the results of past studies (Yang et al., 2021; Salman et al., 2022) have shown that by increasing income source diversity, farmers' livelihood vulnerability to natural disasters decreases. The households in this county had not made their houses resistant to floods, which can increase the livelihood vulnerability of the villagers. The reasons for this can be seen in the bad economic situation, the lack of Qarz Al-Hasna funds in the region to provide loans and credits, or the lack of sufficient knowledge of farmers. In Chegani county, demographic-social indicators and natural disasters and climate changes showed a higher number than the other two cities; This means that Pol-e Dokhtar county is more vulnerable in these indicators. 52.1% of households had not received warnings about floods. Getting a timely flood warning can greatly reduce livelihood vulnerability. The reason for this can also be the lack of membership in social networks and the shortness of the Meteorological Organization and its related departments. In Khorramabad county, the food index showed a higher number than the other two cities; This means that Pol-e Dokhtar county is more vulnerable than the other two cities in this index. Farmers' ability to save seeds and crops in this county showed that they anticipated climate threats, but their ability to save seeds and crops was influenced by storage space facilities and financial conditions. Farmers who lack adequate storage and financial resources must sell seeds and crops to meet household needs during weather shocks. The results of previous studies (Blackmore et al., 2021; Ho et al., 2022; Salman et al., 2022) also confirm this finding.

Finally, the results of this study showed that the flood-affected farmers of the villages of Pol-e Dokhtar county have higher livelihood vulnerability than those of Chegani and Khorramabad counties. In Pol-e Dokhtar county, indicators of livelihood strategy, social networks, knowledge-information and health showed a higher number than the other two counties; This means that Pol-e Dokhtar county has higher vulnerability in these indicators. Therefore, it is necessary to prepare context-specific intervention to reduce vulnerability to flood and strengthen the adaptive capacity of farm households.


Main Subjects

Articles in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Available Online from 29 June 2023
  • Receive Date: 15 February 2023
  • Revise Date: 15 April 2023
  • Accept Date: 26 May 2023