The Impact of Natural Disasters on Child Health and Investments in Rural India
Jan 1, 2012
|PDF file||0.5 MB||
Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.
Natural disasters are becoming more frequent worldwide and there is growing concern that they may adversely affect short- and long-term health outcomes in developing countries. Prior research has primarily focused on the impact of single, large disaster events but very little is known about how small to moderate disasters, which are more typical, affect population health. This paper presents one of the first investigations of the impact of small and moderate disasters on childhood morbidity, physical growth, and immunizations by combining household data from three waves of the Indian National Family and Health Survey with an international database of natural disasters (EM-DAT). It finds that exposure to a natural disaster in the past month increases the likelihood of acute illnesses such as diarrhea, fever, and acute respiratory illness in children under 5 year by 9-18%. Exposure to a disaster in the past year reduces height-for-age and weight-for-age z-scores by 0.12-0.15 standard deviations, increases the likelihood of stunting and underweight by 7%, and reduces the likelihood of having full age-appropriate immunization coverage by nearly 18%. It also finds that disasters' effects vary significantly by gender, age, and socioeconomic characteristics. Most notably, the adverse effects on growth outcomes are much smaller among boys and infants.
This paper series made possible by the NIA funded RAND Center for the Study of Aging and the NICHD funded RAND Population Research Center.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Working paper series. RAND working papers are intended to share researchers' latest findings and to solicit informal peer review. They have been approved for circulation by RAND but may not have been formally edited or peer reviewed.
This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.