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The University of Southampton
The India Centre for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development

Researching Resilience

Professor Jadu Dash and Professor Emma Tompkins, in the school of Geography and Environmental Science, have for the past four years been leading a unique research project to identify what environmental, socio-economic and institutional factors, and the interaction of these factors, build or obstruct the climate and disaster resilience of rice cropping and rice farmers in coastal Odisha, Eastern India.


Named PREFUS – Pathways of REsilience to FUture Storms – the project is funded by the Leverhulme Trust and covered two particular districts in the state of Odisha: Kendrapara and Jagatsingpur.

Professor Dash explains the importance of the research,

"One of the key achievements from this project is that we demonstrated methods to combine satellite remote sensing data and socio-economic data to understand the resilience of the coastal communities in Odisha to natural disaster. This means the policymakers have clear information on the effectiveness of specific policies at a village scale and how future changes in climate and livelihood practices will affect regional vulnerability.

"We have been able to develop a novel method to estimate village level crop production using satellite data, a method which can be translated to many parts of the world with small holder farming practices to provide systematic information on high resolution crop yield."


Odisha made for an interesting case study for the Asia-Pacific region, as it has developed a progressive, decentralised disaster management infrastructure over the past decade under the guidance of Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA). Policies established have focused on creating a dense coverage of cyclone shelters in vulnerable regions and developing local level community response plans to any disaster. The success of this effort was illustrated in October 2018 when the response at all levels was so effective to cyclone Titli, it kept the number of deaths to less than 10 compared to more than 10,000 lives in the 1999 cyclone. A coordinated and effective institutional response to short term disaster recovery was identified as a positive development in the state; however, the project found that a long term strategy to make the community more resilient against future cyclone is still lacking.

Professor Dash explains,

"In particular we highlighted that agricultural development policy seeking to make rice farming more resilient to climate hazards should identify and tackle contextual factors that maintain vulnerable. However, Odisha also demonstrates the need for a fully holistic, locally sensitive approach to disaster risk reduction to be adopted.

"Disaster management should recognise that development will be difficult unless livelihoods are resilient to natural hazards, and disaster vulnerability will not be reduced unless livelihoods enable people to step out of poverty."

Images of India

Maps of India

These maps show the mean and the village wealth

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Related Staff Member

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