In this study, the vulnerability of inhabitants to flooding in Kaba-Kama and Basse-Layout (two sub-districts of Basse town, The Gambia) was assessed. The analysis and assessment of the vulnerability was based on the application of indicators. The integrated vulnerability assessment approach which combined the socio-economic and biophysical variables was adopted to analyse vulnerability of Basse to flooding.

A simple random sampling technique was adopted in administering the copies of questionnaire, from which the respondents’ household age of construction, building materials used, level of education, ownership of radio/TV/phone, impact of floods on welfare and residents’ past flood experience were understood. Principal component analysis was employed to give weights to the different factors affecting vulnerability. The Vulnerability Index was calculated as the net effect of sensitivity and exposure on adaptive capacity following the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007) definition of vulnerability.

The vulnerability index scores of Kaba-Kama and Basse-Layout were 0.36 and 0.70, respectively. This suggests that Kaba-Kama faces more negative effects of flooding than Basse-Layout. Results indicated that Kaba-Kama and Basse-Layout are vulnerable to flooding, mainly due to physical damage on both the compounds and food items as well as to a low collective action against the threat. Coping measures adopted included mainly the use of sandbags, digging of drainage channels, building of fence around the compound and filling gaps in the streets with stones. About 74% and 64% of the respondents respectively in Kaba-Kama and Basse-Layout indicated that coping strategies adopted were effective on a short term but can not help properly deal with the situation, especially on a long run.

The study recommends a close working relationship between community members and institutions involved in flooding management in the area. A flood information guideline was designed to provide support for different users, i.e., general public, decision-makers and disaster management professionals.