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Local Disaster Risk Reduction

Local Disaster Risk Reduction

Local Disaster Risk Reduction

Important factors to support Local Disaster Risk Reduction

Disasters occur due to other causes rather than the natural causes such social, economic, political, and cultural factors. The factors people inhabit areas and regions that are prone to natural hazards due to the different aspects of social, economic, and cultural environments. For instance, people are forced by difficult situations such as poverty to settle in hazardous areas such as flood plains and mountain slopes here floods, landslides and earthquakes are common. Other factors especially affecting the political environment are the distribution of resources such as education, health services, income, and important information. There is a lot of discrimination in many communities in the developing countries especially on the issues of welfare and social protection. Disasters occur due to both natural and human action and contribute to the major problems related to the famine, diseases such as HIV-AIDS, wars, drought and many others. The potential of various groups of people to exposure to some of the natural disasters and hazards constitutes the disaster risk that depends on the social and political systems of the community. The vulnerability of different groups to hazards exposure helps to understand disasters by looking at both the political, economic, social, and cultural systems. The important factors to support local disaster reduction in the community and places with risks of natural hazards are political, economic, social, and cultural practices.

There is a big link between poverty, vulnerability, and disasters such the poorest people are always the victim as their poverty leads to their vulnerability. Preparing those people will make them cope with disasters in case they occur. Due to climatic change it is important for countries to adopt Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR )due to the adverse effects of the occurrence. Organizations such as the Practical Action works with various communities to help them cope with the future hazards by taking measures such as disaster risk managements, and food security. The organization uses the research approach and its experience in disaster management for many years to help people cope with disasters especially in the developing countries such as South Asia, Peru, and Africa. The body also secures and sustains livelihoods in communities with high poverty levels by reducing their susceptibility to disaster. Practical Action works with the humanitarian agencies to help families, communities, and local markets to come out of the crises and cope with future disaster threats. The organization works by involving the survivors off various disasters in the decision-making and management of the resources. The world’s poorest and marginalized communities suffer from climate change compared to the well up communities. These people depend on natural resources for agriculture and other means of production.

Climate change affects the living conditions of vulnerable people especially in developing countries as a result of global warming contributed by human activities such as cultivation methods. Some cultural beliefs such as disasters are a punishment from God, or other supreme being prevents people from taking action to avoid more disasters. Organizations like the UNDP should always offer education to the vulnerable communities and change their evolutionary behaviours especially the ones touching on religious beliefs. Other factors that increase the vulnerability of communities to disasters are personality, upbringing, and level of education, peer pressure and many more. For countries to support DRR, the government should work closely with charitable organizations such as the Red Cross to reduce the influence of culture on disaster occurrences. The beliefs that it is the God’s ill for some disasters such as earthquakes and floods to happen are not healthy for DRR and DRM as people cannot engage in activities that reduce the risks of disaster occurrences.

Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) aims at identifying and reducing the risks of disaster by dealing with socio-economic vulnerabilities to the disasters. Governance is an important factor in addressing the occurrence of disasters through DRR and DRM especially in the third-world countries. The government is very important in the DRR approach to disaster management as it is one of the main actors. The government should always ensure that its citizens are safe, and there is equality in resource allocation to all communities. The government also is the main coordinator of DRR projects through the formulation of policies and programmes through legislation. The government is also mandated to ensure protection of the rights of its citizens through disaster prevention and early warnings of any impending disasters such as floods. Disaster management organisations such as UNDP and BRAC prefer working in environments where the rights of the citizens are respected and protected.

Social factors also contribute to occurrence and reoccurrence of disasters depending on the organisation of communities and the social classes. For countries to achieve Disaster Risk reduction, it must do away with social classes and bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. Some people fail to protect themselves believing that someone like the government or charitable organizations will come to their help. For example the in Kenya, people are warned to vacate the lowlands and avoid living in mountainous areas but fail to take action only to call the government when their homes floods or whenever there are landslides. The international community should always emphasize on the necessity of local ownership of the disaster risk reduction (DRR) through the local governments. Policy makers need to support the local actors to manage natural disasters by spreading awareness of the environmental risks facing the communities. The leaders and the NGOs should work with mayors and community leaders to enable active participation of the local community groups in reducing the risks due to natural disaster. Consequences and social outcomes of projects for poverty alleviation, community development, and reduction of disaster vulnerability depend on the social impact assessment.

Social factors are human populations or private actions that can affect the way of living, working, and the relation of humans to each other as the members of the society. The way a society live determines the possibility of occurrence of disasters and their management. There is a big relationship between vulnerability, disasters and hazards especially on the deep-rooted factors in different societies, which can alleviate or increase the seriousness of a disaster. Some societies or groups of people lack basic services at the household level, and others face exposure to unsafe conditions. For instance people who construct shanty houses on sloppy and hilly lands especially in urban centres increasing the risk of disasters such as floods and landslides. Disaster management through DRR should always aim at involving communities at risk in risk management and reduction of vulnerability through their projects. The civil society and the public authorities will also play an important especially in coordination and mobilization of the local communities.

Political factors may also influence the effectiveness of DRR especially in the developing countries here politicians engage in corrupt activities such as land grabbing. When leaders, politicians, and the wealthy class take all the good land, the marginalized communities end up settling in disaster-prone areas such as in the slopes and dry areas. The countries should fight corruption by the political class and allocate land and resources equality to the communities. Politics can also limit the local ownership of DRR if politics takes the centre stage during the implementation of DRR projects. There are some officials who hold positions for their interests and embezzle fund meant for disaster management and may use the resources to win votes from a few individuals. Countries need to monitor the DRR projects closely to prevent political interferences especially if they disagree with the local leaders on implementation of the DRR projects. Some political leaders will also avoid dealing with some disaster threats waiting for the next campaign period to use it a campaign tool. To avoid delays, NGOs and other international charitable organizations should monitor DRR projects and avoid political involvement of any nature. DRR is mostly part of the political debate in many countries, and its effectiveness depends on who wins the motion. Some politician’s ill use it for their political interest and limits the participation of the locals in managing disasters. Consequently, the communities do not understand their role in alleviating some disasters such as drought and famines brought about by climate changes. Some local leaders might fail to implement policies from their competitors or continue with previous projects after new elections. For DRR projects to work, politics should never play any part in the implementation of the projects dealing with disaster management and risk reduction.

Economic factors contribute to the occurrence of natural disasters and the vulnerability of some communities in depending on the distribution of the resources and agricultural activities of the country. Countries with a large wealth disparity expose the poor to deadly disasters such as landslides, as they live in areas prone to disasters. The people’s economic activities such as farming, mining, and grazing may accelerate the occurrence of natural disasters such as floods due to soil erosion. Due to the disparity in resource distribution, these people have no other option and have to cope with the frequency of the disasters as they await government intervention. DRR approach aims at bridging the gap by involving the local community in self-protection during disasters and offering permanent and long-lasting solutions to the occurrence of disasters. Understanding the economic factors in any country will assist NGOs and other organizations to manage disasters and alleviate poverty in many countries.

Conclusion

Disasters occur due to other causes rather than the natural causes such social, economic, political, and cultural factors. Disasters occur due to both natural and human action and contribute to the major problems related to the famine, diseases such as HIV-AIDS, wars, drought and many others. The world’s poorest and marginalized communities suffer from climate change compared to the well up communities. These people depend on natural resources for agriculture and other means of production. Social factors also contribute to occurrence and reoccurrence of disasters depending on the organisation of communities and the social classes. Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) aims at identifying and reducing the risks of disaster by dealing with socio-economic vulnerabilities to the disasters. The people’s economic activities such as farming, mining, and grazing may accelerate the occurrence of natural disasters such as floods due to soil erosion.

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