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- Volume 7, Issue 1, 2015
Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies - Volume 7, Issue 1, 2015
Volume 7, Issue 1, 2015
Author Terry GibsonSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 7, pp 1 –6 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v7i1.128More Less
Investment of resources in international development continues to grow, but evidence suggests that progress is patchy and that parameters such as losses resulting from disasters of all scalescontinue to grow. It is suggested that critical thought and reflection, as an adjunct to action, is vital for both individuals and organisations concerned for social development. It is furtherargued that disruption is often required in order to dynamically pursue transformation of structures and institutions in order to secure progress towards sustainable livelihoods.
Adaptation to drought in arid and semi-arid environments : case of the Zambezi Valley, Zimbabwe : original researchSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 7, pp 1 –7 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v7i1.144More Less
Small-scale rain-fed agriculture is the main livelihood in arid to semi-arid regions of sub-Saharan Africa. The area is characterised by erratic rainfall and frequent droughts, making the capacity for coping with temporal water shortages essential for smallholder farmers. Focusing on the Zambezi Valley, Zimbabwe, this study investigates the impact of drought on food security and the strategies used by smallholder farmers to cope with drought. We used meteorological data and interviews to examine the rainfall variability in the study area and the drought-coping mechanisms employed by smallholder farmers respectively. The results show that there are various strategies used by smallholder farmers to cope with the impact of drought. These strategies include drought-tolerant crop production, crop variety diversification, purchasing cereals through asset sales, non-governmental organisations' food aid and gathering wild fruit. However, consecutive droughts have resulted in high food insecurity and depletion of household assets during droughts. Smallholder farmers in the valley have also resorted to a number of measures taken before, during and after the drought. Still, these strategies are not robust enough to cope with this uncertainty.
Knowledge apartheid in disaster risk management discourse : is marrying indigenous and scientific knowledge the missing link? : original researchAuthor Mukundi MutasaSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 7, pp 1 –10 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v7i1.150More Less
Indigenous knowledge (IK) is a key component of disaster risk management (DRM) and development planning, yet it is often overlooked, with practitioners preferring to use scientific knowledge. Critics of IK have termed it archaic, primitive, a constraint to development and inferior to scientific knowledge, which has contributed to its widespread marginalisation. However, smallholder farmers in rural Zimbabwe have utilised IK for generations, especially in predicting rainfall patterns and managing drought conditions, showing that IK can be a useful tool in DRM. This article presents findings from research on drought vulnerability and coping conducted in Zimbabwe's Buhera and Chikomba districts in 2009, particularly relating to utilisation of IK in smallholder farming communities, and argues that unless IK is documented and preserved, its marginalisation will persist. The research followed a mixed-methods approach whereby both quantitative and qualitative data were collected and analysed. Whilst smallholder respondents were randomly selected for household surveys, snowball sampling was employed for key informant interviews. Respondents indicated that they utilised some indigenous rainfall pattern predictions gained from observing and interpreting plant and animal behaviour. Some cultural practices that were critical to development and utilisation of certain IK were also threatened with extinction. The article argues for 'marrying' IK and scientific knowledge, in the hope that the two will offset each other's weaknesses, resulting in some kind of hybrid knowledge that will be critical for promoting sustainable agricultural production in Zimbabwe. However, this is not for disregard the challenges associated with knowledge hybridisation, as these two types of knowledge are grounded on differing foundations.
Source: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 7, pp 1 –6 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v7i1.120More Less
Dynes, Haas and Quarantelli (1967) once set the agenda for disaster research as follows: high priority is given to those disasters which are quick and unexpected, which affect more than one industrial community, where there is heavy property damage, where the number of casualties exceeds 100 and which elicits the participation of national organizations during the emergency period. (p. 46)
Almost 50 years afterwards, major disasters continue to stir the prime interest of researchers, who often immediately rush to the affected areas to conduct studies of various kinds, from hazards observations to social surveys on the impact of the events and post-traumatic stress disorder research. Stallings (2007:56) actually suggests that 'arriving on site as soon as possible is generally seen by field researchers as key to the success of their work'. Recently, this 'research gold rush' has been observed in the regions hit by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Hurricane Katrina in the United States of America (USA) in 2005, the 2008 earthquake in China, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the 2010-2011 Canterbury earthquakes in New Zealand and the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Modelling social vulnerability in sub-Saharan West Africa using a geographical information system : original researchSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 7, pp 1 –11 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v7i1.155More Less
In recent times, disasters and risk management have gained significant attention, especially with increasing awareness of the risks and increasing impact of natural and other hazards especially in the developing world. Vulnerability, the potential for loss of life or property from disaster, has biophysical or social dimensions. Social vulnerability relates to societal attributes which has negative impacts on disaster outcomes. This study sought to develop a spatially explicit index of social vulnerability, thus addressing the dearth of research in this area in sub-Saharan Africa. Nineteen variables were identified covering various aspects. Descriptive analysis of these variables revealed high heterogeneity across the South West region of Nigeria for both the state and the local government areas (LGAs). Feature identification using correlation analysis identified six important variables. Factor analysis identified two dimensions, namely accessibility and socioeconomic conditions, from this subset. A social vulnerability index (SoVI) showed that Ondo and Ekiti have more vulnerable LGAs than other states in the region. About 50% of the LGAs in Osun and Ogun have a relatively low social vulnerability. Distribution of the SoVI shows that there are great differences within states as well as across regions. Scores of population density, disability and poverty have a high margin of error in relation to mean state scores. The study showed that with a geographical information system there are opportunities to model social vulnerability and monitor its evolution and dynamics across the continent.
Artisanal small-scale mining : potential ecological disaster in Mzingwane District, Zimbabwe : original researchSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 7, pp 1 –11 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v7i1.158More Less
Artisanal small-scale mining (ASM) has devastating impacts on the environment, such as deforestation, over-stripping of overburden, burning of bushes and use of harmful chemicals like mercury. These environmental impacts are a result of destructive mining, wasteful mineral extraction and processing practices and techniques used by the artisanal smallscale miners. This paper explores the ecological problems caused by ASM in Mzingwane District, Zimbabwe. It seeks to determine the nature and extent to which the environment has been damaged by the ASM from a community perspective. Interviews, questionnaires and observations were used to collect qualitative data. Results indicated that the nature of the mining activities undertaken by unskilled and under-equipped gold panners in Mzingwane District is characterised by massive stripping of overburden and burning of bushes, leading to destruction of large tracts of land and river systems and general ecosystem disturbance. The research concluded that ASM in Mzingwane District is an ecological time bomb, stressing the need for appropriate modifications of the legal and institutional frameworks for promoting sustainable use of natural resources and mining development in Zimbabwe. Government, through the Ministry of Small Scale and Medium Enterprises, need to regularise and formalise all gold mining activities through licensing, giving permanent claims and operating permits to panners in order to recoup some of the added costs in the form of taxes. At the local level, the Mzingwane Rural District Council (MRDC) together with the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) need to design appropriate environmental education and awareness programmes targeting the local community and gold panners.
Improving disaster risk reduction capacity of district civil protection units in managing veld fires : a case of Mangwe district in Matabeleland South Province, Zimbabwe : original researchSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 7, pp 1 –13 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v7i1.143More Less
This article analysed disaster risk reduction capacity of District Civil Protection Units (DCPUs) in managing veld fires in Mangwe District of Matabeleland South Province, Zimbabwe. Veld fires have resulted in unnecessary material, environmental and economic losses. Communities' livelihoods and property have been destroyed, and the natural environment depleted. The research sought to improve disaster risk reduction capacity of DCPUs in managing veld fires, through new intervention strategies and a new model. The objectives of the study were to investigate the main causes of veld fires; to analyse their impacts; to examine the effectiveness of the current intervention strategies; and to identify challenges in implementing these interventions. Furthermore, the study sought to recommend new possible intervention strategies. This mainly qualitative study employed self-administered questionnaires, interviews and focus-group discussions. Questionnaires were used to investigate members of the DCPU's ideas, views and experiences, interviews solicited perceptions of community leaders and their subjects, whilst focus-group discussions assisted with information from members of the District Civil Protection Planning Committee. Veld fires in the district are mainly caused by human activities, and they are prevalent during the months of September and October. They affect livelihoods and the natural environment the most. This study found that DCPUs are not prepared to manage veld fires and therefore recommended new strategies and adoption of the community-based disaster risk reduction model. The new strategies include involving community leaders and members of the communities in DCPUs; regular training and workshops to members of DCPUs on veld fire management; creation of fire protection associations; regular campaigns and rehearsal of emergency drills by the DCPU personnel; the introduction of competitions and incentives in veld fire management; vigorous public education on the erection of proper fireguards around homes, cattle pens, crop fields and vegetable gardens; and the imposition of stiffer penalties for carelessly or deliberately causing veld fires. Policy-makers, governments and stakeholders would benefit from the new intervention strategies. The community-based disaster risk reduction model would benefit researchers and disaster risk reduction practitioners.
Author Ramphal M. SillahSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 7, pp 1 –7 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v7i1.148More Less
Disasters have increased in intensity and frequency in recent times. However, disasters do not affect all groups in a society in a similar manner. This article, based mainly on qualitative desk research and document analysis, aims to illuminate the specific vulnerability of children to hazards and disasters. The research showed that owing to their special physiological, psychological, emotional and economic stature, children are an inherently vulnerable group. The paper advocates for existing disaster management structures and systems in Zimbabwe to elevate reduction of disaster risk amongst children within the scope of child protection, which aims to create a protective environment that shelters children from any form of harm or abuse. The paper proffers recommendations on how to design disaster management programmes in Zimbabwe with the needs of children in mind.
Identifying hydro-meteorological events from precipitation extremes indices and other sources over northern Namibia, Cuvelai Basin : original researchSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 7, pp 1 –18 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v7i1.177More Less
Worldwide, more than 40% of all natural hazards and about half of all deaths are the result of flood disasters. In northern Namibia flood disasters have increased dramatically over the past half-century, along with associated economic losses and fatalities. There is a growing concern to identify these extreme precipitation events that result in many hydro-meteorological disasters. This study presents an up to date and broad analysis of the trends of hydrometeorological events using extreme daily precipitation indices, daily precipitation data from the Groot fontein rainfall station (1917-present), regionally averaged climatologies from the gauged gridded Climate Research Unit (CRU) product, archived disasters by global disaster databases, published disaster events in literature as well as events listed by Mendelsohn, Jarvis and Robertson (2013) for the data-sparse Cuvelai river basin (CRB). The listed events that have many missing data gaps were used to reference and validate results obtained from other sources in this study. A suite of ten climate change extreme precipitation indices derived from daily precipitation data (Grootfontein rainfall station), were calculated and analysed. The results in this study highlighted years that had major hydro-meteorological events during periods where no data are available. Furthermore, the results underlined decrease in both the annual precipitation as well as the annual total wet days of precipitation, whilst it found increases in the longest annual dry spell indicating more extreme dry seasons. These findings can help to improve flood risk management policies by providing timely information on historic hydro-meteorological hazard events that are essential for early warning and forecasting.
From 'government' to 'governance' : tensions in disaster-resilience leadership in Zimbabwe : original researchSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 7, pp 1 –10 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v7i1.188More Less
This article examines the challenges that disaster leadership faces to move away from a top-down, command-and-control style to distributed leadership. The article challenges the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction which appears to be silent on leadership and instead emphasises 'good governance' to enhance organisational and institutional capacity for disaster resilience. We posit that leadership is an indispensable component of good governance, and not emphasising it could be tantamount to a gross underestimation of disaster policy and practice. Using the data from participatory action research that was conducted in Matabele land South Province, Zimbabwe, the findings reveal some tensions in shifting from command and control to distributed leadership in disaster-risk reduction, which has implications for the shift from government to governance in disaster risks. More importantly, this study reiterates the blurred distinctions between disaster-risk reduction and sustainable development. Thus, unless well-known, sustainable development challenges are addressed - particularly community-based leadership, good governance, the integration of local knowledge, empowerment and ownership of development programmes- shifting from government to disaster governance is likely to continue facing challenges.
Everyday hazards and vulnerabilities amongst backyard dwellers : a case study of Vredendal North, Matzikama Municipality, South Africa : original researchAuthor Patricia J. ZweigSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 7, pp 1 –8 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v7i1.210More Less
The populations of many small towns in South Africa continue to expand unmatched by parallel economic growth, entrenching high levels of poverty. The town of Vredendal, located close to the national route between Namibia and Cape Town in South Africa, is a West Coast development node and an emergent industrial and processing area that continues to attract an influx of people seeking economic opportunities. This is challenging the capacity of the local municipality, which has a waiting list for state-provided low-cost housing units, whilst the provision of adequate infrastructure to meet growing local need is also a developmental concern. In the suburb of Vredendal North this has resulted in the proliferation of unplanned informal dwellings in the backyards of formalised low-cost housing areas. Largely overlooked by urban researchers, little is known or understood about small town backyard populations. This prompted a brief study of Vredendal North backyard dwellers commissioned by the local municipality to identify their everyday hazards and livelihood vulnerabilities to inform future development planning. A community workshop identified critical development needs and suggested that backyard dwellers in small towns experience similar living conditions and hazards to those in the cities, although underlain by some unique differences.
Vulnerability assessments, identity and spatial scale challenges in disaster-risk reduction : original researchSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 7, pp 1 –17 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v7i1.201More Less
Current approaches to vulnerability assessment for disaster-risk reduction (DRR) commonly apply generalised, a priori determinants of vulnerability to particular hazards in particular places. Although they may allow for policy-level legibility at high levels of spatial scale, these approaches suffer from attribution problems that become more acute as the level of analysis is localised and the population under investigation experiences greater vulnerability. In this article, we locate the source of this problem in a spatial scale mismatch between the essentialist framings of identity behind these generalised determinants of vulnerability and the intersectional, situational character of identity in the places where DRR interventions are designed and implemented. Using the Livelihoods as Intimate Government (LIG) approach to identify and understand different vulnerabilities to flooding in a community in southern Zambia, we empirically demonstrate how essentialist framings of identity produce this mismatch. Further, we illustrate a means of operationalising intersectional, situational framings of identity to achieve greater and more productive understandings of hazard vulnerability than available through the application of general determinants of vulnerability to specific places and cases.
When nature frowns : a comprehensive impact assessment of the 2012 Babessi floods on people's livelihoods in rural Cameroon : original researchSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 7, pp 1 –8 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v7i1.197More Less
Floods are the most common natural disasters worldwide. Much of the growing literature on the impact of floods, especially in developed countries, and to a lesser extent in rural areas of developing countries, concentrates on economic rather than a comprehensive assessment of combined effects on people's livelihoods. Holistic floods impact assessments are often done long after the shock, raising problems of data reliability following long recall periods, although post-disaster needs assessments when carried out earlier can facilitate appropriate disaster recovery, relief and reconstruction activities. We applied the sustainable livelihoods framework as a comprehensive approach to assess the impacts of the Babessi floods in 2012 on livelihoods in rural (north western region) of Cameroon 6 weeks after the floods. Using a structured questionnaire, data was collected from victims before and after the floods, using recall methods. A matched sample of non-victims randomly selected from the same village as the victims was used to assess vulnerability to the floods by household type. Floods were found to have serious economic, social, human and food security impacts on victims. Both government and nongovernmental support were jointly crucial for household recovery. Comparatively observed high levels of recovery were attributed to the low loss of human lives. The article concludes with the need for comprehensive approaches to floods impact assessments. The need for combining formal and informal instruments in post-disaster management in rural areas is also emphasised.
Environmental challenges posed by veld fires in fragile regions : the case of the Bulilima and Mangwe districts in southern Zimbabwe : original researchSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 7, pp 1 –8 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v7i1.224More Less
This original research confronted challenges to environmental management and sustainability posed by veld fires in the Bulilima and Mangwe Districts of Matabele land in the South Province in southern Zimbabwe. Veld fires have affected the fauna and flora, polluted air and water, and destroyed livelihoods. The study aimed at establishing challenges to environmental sustainability posed by veld fires, identifying the type of environment upon which veld fires have impacted, analysing legal issues and other interventions surrounding the control of veld fires and suggesting new control measures for veld fires. A qualitative research design and quota sampling were used. The study involved 30 participants. Data was collected through a questionnaire, an interview guide and participant observation. Challenges to environmental management and sustainability posed by veld fires include property damage, reduced soil fertility, destruction of vegetation, air and water pollution and destruction of wildlife. Most veld fires are a result of human actions that emanate from the disposal of cigarettes, the burning of vegetation when preparing fields, the use of fire by hunters, smoking out bees and the making of fires by motorists along highways. The government should consider reviewing the current environmental statues. Fireguards should be wide enough to lessen veld-fire impact. Lastly, veld-fire campaigns and rehearsals should be run on a regular basis. It is hoped that this work would make a significant contribution through improving the current thinking about environmental management and sustainability, thereby benefiting policy makers, practitioners and stakeholders.