Overcoming Disasters

Categories: Natural Disasters

The conceptual framework above explains how the different concepts used in the study relate. Specifically, it shows that the impact of a landslide disaster requires appropriate coping strategies for affected people to become resilient economic, social, and psychosocial coping strategies, as well as government interventions, are needed to achieve resilience among affected people. It is conceptualized in this study that a complex interplay of economic, social, and psychosocial coping mechanisms with appropriate support from government and international partners if effective will result in resilience.

Resilience is the presumed outcome of the study was evaluated in terms of the ability of an individual, family, group, or community to use available resources to secure livelihood during disaster and after-disaster times and their ability to adapt to new similar threatening situations. At the household level, each individual has an initial state of well-being defined by physical abilities to withstand shocks, prolonged periods of stress, and deprivation specific to a landslide disaster. Access to resources may include land, livestock, reserves of food, specialized knowledge, and skills, which can be used to avert the impact of the hazards.

Landslide hazards in Uganda

Uganda has experienced a wide range of disasters that have affected the country such as displacement of persons as a result of civil strife, famine as a result of drought, earthquakes, disease epidemics, livestock and crop disease, flooding, and technological accidents as a result of inadequate safety procedures and landslides resulting from heavy rains and injudicious environmental management (Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), 2005:2).

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Landslides, however, have become common phenomena in Ug, and, especially on the mountainous areas of the Southwest and Eastern sides where they have caused extensive damage to property, environment,t, and loss of lives (Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), 2005:2; Kitutu, et al., 2009:611).

Bududa district has had more losses in terms of deaths 1626 people, followed by Bulambuli 106. Bududa had more missing persons 600 people, followed by 17 people in Bulambuli. Similarly, the majority of affected people 30, 8791 were in Budduda followed by 4, 248 in Bulambuli. Whereas there are many other areas affected by landslide disasters the table confirms the study area Bulambuli is among those with the most affected people. Whether these affected people are resilient to landslides through effective coping and adaptation is the focus of the study.

Kizza (2011:1) notes that the African continent was not much affected by landslides or mudslides in the early days until recently when they have become common. Landslides kill more people (14%) than any other socio-natural disaster in Uganda and affect 4% of the population (DesInventar, 2014). The Country has experienced enormous losses due to landslides, including the March 1, 2010 landslide which was ranked among the top ten disasters by several deaths in the world (Figure 2). The landslide killed 388 and affected at least 8,500 people in the Mount Elgon District of Bududa in Eastern Uganda (CRED, 2014; Doocy, et al., 2013; Kato and Mutonyi, 2011; Misanya, 2011; Terry, 2011; Vlaeminck, et al., 2015, 2016; Wanasolo, 2012).

In response to the increasing number of disasters in the country, the government of Uganda put in place the NPDPM (Office of the Prime Minister, 2010). The NPDPM (National Policy for Disaster Preparedness and Management) recognizes landslides as one of the major hazards in the country and recommends the following landslide disaster risk reduction measures: gazetting landslide-prone areas and prohibiting settlement in such risky areas; resettling all persons living in landslide-prone areas; undertaking to promote afforestation; enforcing the relevant laws and policies, and applying appropriate farming technologies and land-use practices. There has, however, been no known study to assess whether implementation of the landslide disaster policy measures recommended by the NPDPM is effectively supporting coping and adaptation in Bulambuli. The study will therefore establish whether victims of these landslides in Bulambuli cope and adapt to vulnerabilities due to landslides.

Coping and Adaptation Mechanisms

A considerable literature is available to suggest different types of strategies to cope with natural disasters. The interaction of human beings and the natural world exerts influence on the natural environment resulting in persistent hazards or threats and disasters. Although the natural social sciences depict disasters as abnormal occurrences, hazard-prone communities usually come to accept hazards and disasters as a common phenomenon in life (Bankoff, 2007:26). This guides them to develop several coping and adaptive strategies to enable them to manage the disasters. The coping mechanisms adopted by individuals, households, or communities are based on the assumption that what has happened in the past is likely to repeat itself following a familiar pattern (Wisner et al., (2004:116).

Coping strategies are a set of measures taken by the communities for obtaining resources in times of adversity and disaster. They are the choices that households make to manage natural disasters which can be divided into ex-ante and ex-post (e.g. Helgeson et al. 2012, Mechler 2004). Adaptation strategies, on the other hand, are defined as adjustments in the behavior and characteristics of a system, such as a household, that enhance its ability to cope with external stresses, such as a natural disaster (e.g. Brooks 2003). To a significant extent, therefore, coping and adaptation strategies are similar.

Schwarzer and Schwarzer (1996) describe four types of coping behavior in a crisis: (i) reactive coping—is an effort to deal with the crisis that has already taken place, coping efforts aim to either compensate for the loss or alleviate harm; (ii) anticipatory coping—is as an effort to deal with an imminent threat; (iii) preventive coping—is an effort to build up general resistance resources that result in less strain in the future (minimizing the severity of the impact of potential distress)  an overall reduced risk of the crisis; and (iv) proactive coping—is an effort to build up general resources that facilitate promotion toward challenging goals/future.

Patnaik and Narayanan (2010) categorized coping strategies as ex-ante and ex-post. Ex-post strategies may include adaptive behavior such as dissaving, borrowing, and sale of assets. On the other hand, ex‐ante strategies may include income diversification (or crop diversification in rural areas) and insurance. Still another framework for understanding coping strategies employed by households in the face of natural disasters is by classifying them into three types, namely, risk-reducing (ex-ante), self-insurance, and risk sharing, defined as follows (Ghorpade 2012).

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Overcoming Disasters. (2022, Jun 09). Retrieved from http://envrexperts.com/free-essays/essay-about-overcoming-disasters

Overcoming Disasters
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