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    Community Resilience (6163 words)

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    Makurdi, the capital of Benue State, Nigeria and a major city is situated on the flood plain along river Benue and is exposed to the frequent flooding events that have resulted to damages of properties and loss of life. Flooding in Makurdi town has become a troubling issue and as a result the urban dwellers formulated ways in which they can survive.

    This study will evaluate coping measures applied by the residents living in the flood prone areas of Makurdi town. Data was obtained from residents of the town living in the flood prone areas and with the help of a well-designed questionnaire, photographs and personal observations, information was gathered based on the communities at high risk, the causes and effect of the flooding and the various measures adopted by the residents.

    A total of 300 inhabitants were sampled across the flood prone area and data collated was analyzed using the descriptive statistics and the study result analyses will reveal that flooding in Makurdi is as a result of heavy rainfall (33.7%) mostly between September and October and when waterlogged, it takes a few days for the water to reside depending on the magnitude of the occurrence, soil density and compatibility. (A prototype of the shared questionnaire is attached within).

    Apart from the high rainfall intensity, other factors such as silting up of available water drainage channel (20.3%), blockage of water drainage channels with solid waste (16%) and unapproved building structures along the water channels (29.3%).

    The study also shows that, the major effect of the flooding results to loss of life and private and public properties (41.6%). Coping measures have been adopted as a temporary solution to frequently remove silt from blocked drainages (36.3%), a temporary construction of little water channels (32.7%) and the use of sand banks (18.7%) and (56%) of the inhabitants pointed out that the coping strategies adopted were not very effective. The study will recommend a very close working relationship with the local inhabitants and with the task responsible for tackling the problem of flooding in the area.

    However, in this thesis, the author will examine the case of Makurdi, Benue which describes the Nigerian context thereby analyzing the formal government authority’s position on disaster management, and in particular reflect the role of the government to ensure local participation and contributions to disaster risk management. Furthermore, a study and analysis of cases and disaster events that occurred in 2012 and 2017 respectively will be conducted and the author will reflect on the events and the outcome of each occurrence in each case.

    1. How prepared were the at-risk communities?
    2. What were the effects on the community?
    3. How did the community react to these disaster events?
    4. How did these actions correspond with government disaster risk reduction management policy?

    It is hypothesized that, in the events of constant evolving global climate change, attention to DRRM mainly through the Hyogo and Sendai frameworks, one would predict different events and outcomes in the study areas. Put differently, five years after the 2012 flood events, the effects of the 2017 flood should have been better prepared for, so leading to less intense and negative effects on the residents.

    Furthermore the author discloses that the 2017 flood disaster event was similar in effect to the 2012 event. Unfortunately, unintentionally paid less attention to early warnings from the authorities regarding imminent flood and recommended action. While it is beyond the scope of this thesis to permanently solve and analyze entirely why this is so, one can only reflect on the actions and coping measures taken by the local people for each heavy rainfall year, examine them for the potential to build a connection with the state authorities.

    Finally, there is a need to draw the local attention, action, awareness and understanding into appropriate affiliation with government claims and policy regarding DRRM.


    I wish to extend my sincere gratitude to my supervisor Dr. Bogachan Bayulken for his insights and guidance throughout this research. Dr. Shahin Keynoush as my Program Advisor always made out time for discussions and advices towards my Master program and thesis. I like to acknowledge the invaluable guidance and advice of my committee members; Dr. Valentina Dona and Dr. Fodei Conteh. His support and encouragement have made the completion of this research possible.

    In the same way, I would like also to thank my Guidance Dr. Hossein Sadri, for his counsel and his input into my research and entire program in North Cyprus. I am also grateful to Dr. Hassina Nafa for motivating and Inspiring and believing in me especially throughout my Undergraduate program.

    I would like also to extend my gratitude to my sibling for his moral support. I must acknowledge all my friends who provided me with their unwavering and constant support throughout the process of my studies at the Girne American University.


    This research work is dedicated to my Parents Mr.& Mrs. Alex C.I.D Shaahu, who made that I got the best education and aspire to greatness despite all odds and situations and to my brother Joseph-Shaahu Shaahu for his support.

    List of Acronyms

    • CRED – Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters
    • DRRM – Disaster Risk Reduction Planning and Management
    • HFA – Hyogo Framework for Action
    • IDP – Internally Displaced Persons
    • LDC – Least Developed Countries
    • NDMF – National Disaster Management Framework
    • NEMA – National Emergency Management Agency
    • NERA – National Emergency Relief agency
    • NIMET – Nigerian Meteorological Agency
    • NIWA – Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority
    • SFDRR – Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction
    • SDG – Sustainable Development Goals
    • TEK – Traditional Ecological Knowledge
    • UNISDR – United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction


    The (UNISDR 2012) defines a disaster as “a serious disruption of the functioning of a community or society involving widespread human, material, economic or environmental losses and impacts, which exceeds the ability of the affected community or society to cope with using its own resources.”

    The author of thesis project will seek to contribute to the literature of disaster risk reduction and the role at which local knowledge is been influenced by the coping strategies of vulnerable communities in developing countries with a focus on Makurdi, Benue. This study will inform the existing gap describing the coping strategies of at-risk communities in Nigeria and how local knowledge informs and strengthens social resilience

    The occurrences of flooding in Nigeria have taken a new dimension in the past and recent times and there has been increasing vulnerability of inhabitants and destruction of infrastructure to flooding and flood related hazards. Most communities have now been affected and flooding been the most devastating natural hazards in the country have claimed more lives than the destruction of property and infrastructures. The number of internally displaced persons increased in these areas therefore intervention by both the government and non-governmental organizations became inevitable in recent years.

    It is now commonly known and accepted that the negative societal, physical, environmental and economic impacts of climate change will increase and the vulnerability of urban dwellers will reach new heights (Belinda & Asfaw, 2011). Studies have also shown that flooding is one of many destructive consequences of global warming that affects urban populations’ risk.

    Flooding affects the relatively poorer areas and their inhabitants more as a result of inadequate or sub-optimal infrastructure and the lack of management of basic services thereof. In the recent years, floodplain intrusions are caused due to poor urban planning and developmental processes. Studies have also asserted that the urban encroachment along these floodplains altered the management of the surface water runoff within the main water channel, and increased surface runoff as a result of paved surface and poor drainage systems. This caused floodplain management a major concern worldwide.

    In most cases, this situation is more severe in cities of developing countries where there is poor control of land use practices and established mechanisms to implement floodplain regulations. The frequency and severity of flooding is increasing due to climate change and all efforts to avert this occurrence are constantly yielding less result (CarmoVaz, 2000). As a result, urban dwellers are devising new ways in which they can cope with the flooding and other similar climate change related adversities.

    Previous studies focused on the causes of flooding, the effects of flood occurrences and the control measures implemented by the authorities both at regional and governmental levels. Nevertheless, positive outcomes were found to be minimal in terms of the adoption of preventative measures associated with the problem.

    In Nigeria, studies on flooding have been used as case studies from the southern areas of Nigeria without a particular reference to towns located in flood plains. This study, therefore, attempts to examine the physical characteristics responsible for seasonal flooding in the town of Makurdi which is located in the flood plains of the River Benue.

    Thesis Statement

    Climate change will initiate sea level rise due to global warming that will cause extreme weather occurrences and severe consequences for at-risk communities.

    For example, Carey, (2005) & Slenning, (2010) suggested that “due to climate change will alter weather events and increase the intensity of rains, droughts, floods and in most cases the occurrence of disease outbreak”.

    In the context of development, at-risk communities have formulated old-fashioned techniques over the time to cope with the various environmental hazards within their vicinity. The actions that had been directed towards disaster risk reduction policies and regulatory provisions have returned a substantial advantage to vulnerable communities but these policies will be accomplished if accompanied with the local knowledge.

    This thesis research seeks to identify;

    1. The threats associated with the coping measures of vulnerable communities, and describe its relevance.
    2. Evaluate the scope to which disaster management regulations will be incorporated to the local knowledge.
    3. Create awareness and implement the strategic actions, policies in tackling the occurrences of flooding in at-risk communities.

    Finally, it is assumed that the disaster risk reduction planning and management will be of little importance in the absence of local knowledge, causing an increase in climate change, climate variability and extreme weather events vulnerability in at-risk communities. Also, the offer for an interaction between the local and scientific knowledge will result in the improvement on resilience of vulnerable communities, explicitly in relation to flooding.

    Research Problems

    The events of flooding has not been a recent occurrence to the residents of Makurdi and the residents of these flood prone area have been living with this situation for a period of time and like most urban cities of the third world, Makurdi has experienced a drastic growth in population which has led to changes in land use activities and in this case uncertified construction of buildings along the flood plain area. Rainfall is the most important factor in creating a flood, but there are many other contributing factors.

    Research Questions

    The main research question of this thesis is:

    1. With specific relation to flooding, how has local knowledge educated and fashioned the coping mechanisms of at-risk communities?
    2. What the local knowledge and traditional ecological knowledge offers, and if these forms of knowledge are integrated in the state planning for disaster risk reduction management? If this is, how so?
    3. What are the opportunities for creating best strategic planning and policy practice for the disaster risk reduction management that will comprise of the local/traditional ecological knowledge as well as contemporary scientific knowledge?

    This research project will contribute to the frame of knowledge surrounding disaster risk reduction and climate resilience by formulating a design that illustrates coping measures and interactions between contemporary and the local knowledge.

    Literature Review

    Disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) forms a major part of policy in all regions of the world to increase awareness and to further build resilience in order to deal with the impacts of natural disaster such as flooding, earthquakes and droughts.

    The author of this research sought to investigate the communities’ as well as the authorities’ preparedness in disaster risk reduction (DRR), increase awareness, and explore the possibility for better support, through scientifically informed planning for DRR with bottom-up engagement as well as top-down commitment and support.

    This review will sought to introduce the concept of local knowledge, its relevance and importance in the disaster risk reduction process and the relevance of this literature was assessed to provide information on recent events around the world.

    The Climate Change and Its Consequences

    Major research have been asserted and claimed that increased warming of the earth’s atmosphere through thermal radiation will lead to climate change which will in turn will cause significance in the sea level rise, and coerce flooding events across the globe. Indeed, Leviticus, et al. (2001) adduce to the warming of the earth’s atmosphere and the role of humans in worsening the climate systems. They further stated that, the earth is warming at an increasingly rapid rate, and research suggests that this poses a threat, and a warmer atmosphere with consequences that transcend the economic, social and environmental scopes of human wellbeing.

    Rosseig, et al. (2004) claimed that climate change will pose a threat to the marine ecosystems to the extent that communities that depend on fishing will be affected by changing marine shortage distributions.

    Similarly, Hoegh-Gulberg, et al. (2007)states that “a warm climate poses a severe risk to the coral reefs of the world’s oceans and the authors further argued that coral bleaching will become epidemic in the future with the warming of the earth atmosphere”.

    Interestingly, the erosion of the corals by climate change puts a huge threat to the subsistence of economies and welfare. Furthermore, Haines, et al. (1993) explored the direct impact of a warming climate on the health status of humans. The author also predicted that an increase in vector-borne and other communicable diseases would emerge due to the prevalence of climate change.

    For example, they suggested that increased temperature and rainfall could cause outbreaks of cholera and malaria in the tropics.

    Barnet, et al. (2007) shared a similar opinion that “climate change may impact human security, to the extent that migration and violence will occur, especially in the developing countries of the world. They further argued that the decline in the welfare of citizens will cause them to migrate to the urban areas, thus increase the improvement of urban infrastructures”.

    The indirect effect is a marked growth of political pressure usually on the state to provide necessary services, and in the event that the required services are not adequate, conflicts and deterioration of social relations among inhabitants could begin to emerge. The relationship between climate change and violence may assume various dimensions, and this is confirmed by Reuveny, et al. (2007) et al who suggested “that migration of vulnerable communities due to climate change triggers violence in these areas.

    They supported this claim by introducing a conceptual model with directed views into the alleged causes of conflict between environmental migrants and their hosts”. The model identifies conditions such as competition and distrust, and other auxiliary conditions as primary problems in the declining relations.

    Through its assessments, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel determined the state of knowledge on climate change and has warned of a drastic sea level rise due to anthropogenic effect temperature increase (Cazenave & Cozannet, 2014).

    In recent times, researchers have provided evidence of the rapid melting of the world’s glaciers and ice-sheets, and with it, an increased rate of floods and storm surges and to this point, Horton, et al. suggested that “a median sea-level rise of 0.6-1.0m at low temperatures, and 2.0m-3.0m at high temperatures due to climate change” they also stated that a sea-level rise of this magnitude will indicate severe threats to coastal and river flooding of vulnerable communities. Interpretation of the data from the CRED (2016) international disaster data base employs evidence that the incidence of flooding across the globe is on the increase.

    Nicholls (2002) proposed that “a simulation of global sea-level rise will cause an increase in coastal flooding. Thus, Nicholls made a case for proactive steps that will help prepare for the possible effects of a warmer climate. Figure 1 indicates an increasing trend in flood events across the globe (CRED, 2016).

    It also indicates an increasing trend in flood events in the developing nations of Africa and Asia, with related consequences to the inhabitants, infrastructure, businesses and environment of the regions. The increased trend in reporting flood events can be and will be used to initiate a comprehensive strategy and policy of vulnerable communities to the impact of flood.

    Defining Local Knowledge?

    Local knowledge is the emergence of strategies and actions developed over time and the ability by which at-risk communities cope with the environment. The concept of local knowledge has been subject to uncertainty, resulting in different names (Fabiyi & Oloukoi, 2013). Fabiyi, et al. referred to Local knowledge as “that knowledge peculiar to people and communities, practiced over generations and evolved through time to enable at-risk communities cope with the changing climatic conditions”.

    Briggs, (2015) suggested that “it is inconclusive to consider local knowledge as a comprehensive knowledge, advocating that it is not shared across all members of different cultures and the author further argues that local knowledge is specific to time and place”.

    Furthermore, knowledge developed by the local people cannot be easily transferred, thus preventing the ability to produce a desired result of local knowledge outside its social environment. Briggs, et al. (2004) allegedly claimed that “the isolation of what represents local knowledge has led to an uncertainty in its definitions”. They pointed out the systemic gap between the western scientific knowledge and local knowledge to have controlled and misled the contents of what represents local knowledge and thus, local knowledge has not been given an opportunity to contribute to development.

    It is very important to know that various changes may exist in the use of the term traditional knowledge and traditional ecological knowledge, but at the basic definitions, they serve the purpose to help communities adapt to the various environment changes (Hobson, 1992). Hobson, (1992) stated that “these techniques may be considered unconventional and unscientific due to its changing methods of practices across cultures and geographical regions”. Riedlinger,et al. (2001) described traditional knowledge as “emanating from the extensive use of land by communities guided by their observations of variations in weather and climate”.

    Similarly, traditional ecological knowledge is derived from the development by local practices of resources use by local communities. In some works and writings the term such as Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) is often and can be used to describe the knowledge based on local coping measures and strategies.

    Also, in recent studies and practice, there has been an increased interest in the effectiveness of local knowledge in disaster risk management, and it is practiced by the observed adaptive capacities of local communities toward the extreme weather events. Gomez-Baggethun, et al. (2012) documented the role of local knowledge in aiding the residents of Donana, South West Spain cope with environmental disaster.

    It is thought that technological results may not always offer a resistant solution to disasters, but Few, (2003) reiterated that “the restriction of engineered solutions to climate change” and likewise, Yin, et al. (2001) affirmed “how human intervention deteriorated the flood risk in the Yangtze river basin by constructing a levee which was blamed for silting up the Yangtze river and thus leading to a significant rise in the flood level”.

    For developing countries, the cost of acquiring scientific technology or knowledge for disaster risk reduction may prove too much, and even at the construction level, quality control issues may jeopardize its integrity and, the ability to manage such advanced technology or knowledge may be lacking.

    Furthermore, Dekens, (2007) confirmed that “the case for local knowledge with the claim that technological solutions to disaster risk reduction tend to highlight temporary solutions and further cause major environmental impacts”. Much on technological knowledge and solutions for disaster sought to provide direct defense and will require constant maintenance to remain functional.

    Plate, (2002) stated that “scientific technology in preventing flood have received oppositions due to its geomorphic adjustments of rivers with the construction of dams and river embankments”. The author furthered his argument by citing the impairment of flora and fauna, which consequently impacts the welfare of communities. It can be adduced that the situation that took place in Lake Chad (West Africa) reflects the argument furthered by Plate, (2002).

    However, it is essential to state that deteriorating climatic change conditions may have also contributed to the disappearance of the Lake Chad. Onuoha, (2008) and similar to that, Airoldi, et al. (2005) admitted that “structural flood defense mechanisms have resulted in the artificial creation of coastal areas”.

    Certainly, scientific technological flood defense serves an important purpose and even so, they also impose a threat to the environment. It important to state that local knowledge of inhabitants living along the coastlines of Africa, Asia and the Caribbean requires flood prediction and recovery initiatives.

    Nevertheless, local knowledge is conveyed in different forms of various communities such as agricultural practices but still, there appears to be a loss of this knowledge due to a lot of reasons, and it is beyond the scope of this thesis to discuss these trends. In a thesis report, Ezeanya, (2016) and Studley,(1998) the term traditional and scientific knowledge was used to classify the framework from which knowledge emerge and local knowledge was adopted in the thesis to describe knowledge influenced by local communities about their living conditions.

    The Integration of local knowledge to Flood Management

    Communities at high risk of flooding have existed and endured in spite of the frequent occurrence of extreme weather events and disasters. In a Journal, Wisner, (1995) agreed that “many people living in rural and vulnerable areas have encountered extreme natural events and even climate change”.

    Figure 2 will illustrate the vulnerability of the developing nations to climate change due to their lack of awareness for climate change, and changing weather patterns and it further illustrates a regional breakdown of data for 36 countries advocating that 17 countries in Africa are at extreme risk, 14 countries are at high risk, and 5 countries are at low risk.

    The vulnerability of the continent of Africa is further compounded by a low risk score of 4.12 which means that evidently Africa is less prepared than many other regions for the implications of climate change, thus, the continent as a whole receives a high vulnerability rating (Maplecroft Verisk Climate Change Vulnerability Index, 2011).

    Studies and research have been documented with examples where local knowledge employed by at-risk and vulnerable communities’ deal with the event of a disaster. For example, Mercer, et al. (2008) documented that “in indigenous knowledge for disaster risk reduction stated that the coping mechanism of a riverine community in Papua New Guinea, where a community declined government regulation to relocate higher ground”.

    Relatively, the inhabitants of that community chose to stay back and avoid flood impacts by employing their local knowledge of ways to deal with seasonal flooding.

    Similarly, local knowledge has been observed to be employed in indigenous coastal communities in Canada for dealing with flooding. Newton, (1995) In an assessment and field study of three indigenous coastal communities in Ontario, Canada affirmed that these communities adopted and developed a practical understanding in dealing and coping with flood.

    These communities complicated knowledge of weather patterns instinctively updates the residents for planning for flood events, response and recovery and this is influenced by the local knowledge developed over time.

    Also, Mavhura, et al. (2013) analyzed on the integration of local knowledge in flood management and disaster risk reduction of two communities in Zimbabwe proved that local knowledge employed in these regions aided coping measures of flooding through community sustainability.

    Fabiyi, et al. (2013) described the above cases “as similar to what has been observed in the riverine and coastal communities of Nigeria”. And they stated that “a wide range of communities along the coastline on the border of Atlantic Ocean and inland rivers are exposed to the frequent occurrence of flooding and it can be established that their closeness to the ocean is influenced by these cities living patterns”. The coastal and riverine communities in Nigeria constitutes of several ethnic groups with significant variances in cultural and religious traditions.

    However, there exists an interaction in the existence and application of local knowledge in the event of floods. Fabiyi,et al. (2013), conducted “a field work in coastal communities in Southern Nigeria, and they identified local meteorological signals and knowledge acquired by these communities”.

    They also identified cloud reading as one of the common practices around these communities and according to their study, villagers confirmed studying the behavior of aquatic animals to predict floods. Also in these communities, the various building styles are also linked to the incidence of flooding whereby houses are built on stilts and high ground.

    Disaster Risk Reduction through local knowledge

    In 2005, United Nations recognized the role of local knowledge in disaster risk reduction strategies and several disaster events around the world have proven its effectiveness. United Nations launched the Hyogo framework for action 2005-2015 under the international strategy for disaster risk reduction mainly to:

    Build resilience between nations and communities on disasters.

    Hyogo framework for action (HFA) is a global strategy to reduce disaster risks and this was a resolution of dialogues and negotiations held at the World conference on disaster reduction held at Kobe, Hyogo, Japan. Hyogo framework for action promotes the concept of disaster readiness by eradicating the traditional contrast between natural and human induced disaster. Hyogo framework for action highlighted five primary issues contained by these actions:

    • To ensure disaster risk reduction at national and local level with priority to institutional basis for implementation.
    • Identify, assess, monitor and enhance early warnings to disaster risks.
    • To employ the knowledge, innovation, education to build safety and resilience at all levels.
    • To reduce the fundamental risk factors, and
    • To strengthen the disaster readiness for an effective response at all levels.

    Enia, (2013) stated “that in review of the United Nations HFA, it disclosed the lack of implementation and progress across the member countries”. Equally, Oluwo, (2013) opinionated that “HFA made an obligation for meeting its targets with recommendations to the global, national platform and progress reports”. Also, Kniveton, et al. (2013) believed that “HFA priority 3 made a case for the approach of local knowledge in the disaster reduction process”.

    At the termination of the mandate for the Hyogo framework, the Sendai framework for disaster reduction was implemented to improve the strengths and weaknesses of the previous framework.

    The Sendai Framework for Disaster risk reduction (SFDRR) builds on the performance of the Hyogo framework with the objective to protect the ecosystems, critical infrastructure and livelihoods from disasters. SFDRR with a 15-year term global strategy (2015-2030), addresses the need for understanding disaster risk through its global targets and indicators. The Sendai framework for disaster reduction proposed seven global target actions:

    • Reducing global mortality rate by 2030.
    • Substantially reducing the number of affected people globally by 2030.
    • Reduce the direct disaster economic loss in relation to the global GDP by 2030.
    • Minimize damages of essential infrastructures and interference of basic services.
    • To increase the number of vulnerable countries at national level with disaster risk reduction strategies.
    • Extend international cooperation to developing countries through adequate and sustainable support in implementing the framework, and
    • Increase the availability of, and access to disaster information and early warnings.

    The inclusion for the framework was established to resolve and promote health resilience for at-risk communities.

    Maini, et al. (2017) declared that “the global targets and indicators set out in the SFDRR serves to encourage political commitment and financial resources, but the indicators are not without limitations”.

    The authors argued that measurement of the indicators required a vigorous and comprehensive data which were not readily available. They also stated that, incorrect and incomplete analysis of data could cause indicators to misinform policies and planning processes.

    Prior, et al. (2015) identified “discrepancies in the SFDRR and assumed that when compared to the Yokohama strategy and HFA, the SFDRR could hardly be considered as a measure for the global DRR strategy. The authors claimed that eliminating actual numerical targets and de-linking conflicts and disaster deprives the SFDRR of important significance”.

    Afrose (2017) argued that “SFDRR promotes the concept of “build back better” by strengthening planning, efficient monitoring and evaluation, promoting disaster assessments and building financial resilience”. Similarly, Zia, et al. (2015) supported “the promotion of early warning systems in the Sendai framework that would recommend the opportunities for disaster relief and recovery”.

    In an assessment of the UNISDR frameworks, Diallo, (2015) argued that local knowledge was accepted as a valuable tool required to build the resilience of local communities, but its effects declines in the implementation of community disaster risk measures. Table 1 compares the Hyogo and Sendai frameworks, identifying their differences.

    Argues for the integration of disaster risk efforts into policies, plans and programmes with a focus on prevention, mitigation, preparedness and vulnerability reduction. Establishing the timeline for achieving its objectives. Advocates for the introduction of gender perspectives in disaster risk plans and decision-making process

    Introduces the concept of “build back better” in post-disaster and rehabilitation phase in a bid to avert the creation of new risks.

    Developing countries prone to disaster and Islands deserve to be aided to cope with disasters. The framework illustrates on the types of assistance required by countries prone to disasters to include: finance, technology, capacity building and international cooperation. The establishment on early warning systems for an effective prediction. Prioritizes the need to safeguard the health of inhabitants and the ecosystem that supports life.

    The Hyogo and Sendai framework recommends indicators for monitoring, assessing and implementation. “Three United Nations converged to form a ground breaking agreement that included the Sendai framework, sustainable development goals and climate change that will offer the opportunity to improve participation in disaster risk strategies, mitigation and adaptation” Aitsi-selmi et al. (2015). On the contrary, Wilkinson, et al. (2016)

    Similarly, Wilkinson et al. (2016) suggested that “bringing together the commitments in the disaster policies and sustainable development goals could offer a consistent approach to addressing climate induced displacement”.

    Disaster related problems in developing countries may not have identified adequate solutions through technological and scientific disaster risk reduction strategies but some researchers argued that “such imposed ideas may have done more good than harm” Briggs (2005) & Shizha (2006).

    Grenier (1998) established that “development planning to achieve sustainable development was unsuccessful, rather problems have been created”. Majority of development planning solutions were unfamiliar to the traditional and cultural beliefs of the rural communities thus, facilitating its abandonment.

    Increasingly, development practitioners were given authority to the effectiveness of local knowledge in improving the coping and adaptive capacities of rural coastal communities Rumbach, et al. (2014). The Assessment of disaster around the world reveals that the local knowledge and institutions have played an important role in protecting lives and properties.

    McAdoo, et al. (2008), hypothesized that “the local knowledge possessed by part of the population in the Solomon Islands saved lives during the 2007 Tsunami and the authors claimed that the local residents to the island understood the dynamics of earthquakes and the emptying of the ocean around them as an imminent Tsunami threat”. However, immigrant communities on the island lacked the local knowledge and as a result suffered great loss McAdoo, et al. (2008).

    “There is a rapid awareness that local knowledge may have the ability to increase the scientific understanding of natural events” (Breidlid, 2009).

    With the constant increase of global warming and climatic changes, development authorities have called for an interactive knowledge between scientific and local knowledge. This shared knowledge between different paradigms is informed from climate simulations suggesting that developing nations will face severe threats to extreme climate events. Thus, Nyong et al. (2007) emphasized “that there is a need to integrate local knowledge into formal DRR, and climate mitigation and adaptation policies”.

    The need to promote the cooperation of vulnerable communities in climate change and DRR programs can be explained as a reason for the increased interest in local knowledge. Finally, the interaction between local and scientific knowledge will help to improve disaster risk control measures for efficient management and it is claimed that, “local knowledge can improve the resilience of communities” Fabiyi, et al. (2013).

    Local Knowledge Awareness (Preparedness and Post-disaster)

    Previous discussions have described the various roles of local knowledge in disaster readiness, response and recovery. Hiwasaki et al (2014) presented a document on how coastal communities in Asia developed various techniques to plan for and mitigate hydro-meteorological changes. In their research, the authors described how communities forecast rainfall and strong winds by closely monitoring the changing characteristics of clouds, wind direction and animal behavior.

    Similar to those events Fabiyi, et al. (2013) described that “the texture of clouds informs the community’s assessment to plan for floods. Furthermore, local technical knowledge in building and construction had influenced at-risk communities’ prepare for disasters.

    Walshe, et al. (2012) in their study of disaster risk reduction and the role of local knowledge in Vanuatu, concluded that the local knowledge “is an important tool for the island country”. The authors confirmed that local knowledge, in the form of storytelling helped save lives in the Tsunami that hit the country in 1999. Stories of Tsunamis are linked with local customs to inform the local public of the severe threats presented in their immediate environment and provide assistance on preventive measures.

    Disaster risk reduction also requires post-disaster recovery activities and many local communities acquire the ability to promote cooperation and structure in disaster recovery. In a study, Lambert, (2014) confirmed the response of the indigenous Maori people to the earthquake that hit New Zealand and the author confirmed that “understanding and generosity were demonstrated by the Maoris, resulting to the neighboring communities recommending refuge to residents who had lost their homes in the subsequent disaster”.


    Disaster management policies in Nigeria will be analyzed in its context to verify the extent to which it recognizes the capability of local knowledge. In addition, case studies of vulnerable cities, towns or communities will be employed to establish the role of local knowledge in flood risk management. Also, analysis of secondary data’s will illustrate the approach to be employed.

    The text analysis of the disaster management framework and the comparisons from the case studies will provide information on the role of local knowledge in disaster management strategies between the established government authorities and at-risk communities. This region has been disturbed by periodic flood events and communities in this region are bordered by River Niger and River Benue.

    The flood event in 2012 affected parts of the communities selected for this study and was considered the most horrific in a decade. Government authorities in the areas affected responded to the flood incidents with the assurance to prevent future occurrence. A reoccurrence in 2017 affected lives and hindered the progress in the selected communities, therefore presenting the opportunity to assess state response and coping strategies in the area especially when compared to the previous flood event in 2012.

    Also, the shift from the Hyogo to Sendai framework when compared with Nigerian disaster planning, recommends that adequate measures were not established to ensure the implementation of objectives from the Sendai framework to help anticipate and reduce impacts from flood.

    This research will employ qualitative, quantitative, the use of content analysis and case studies to obtain relevant information and discuss the subject of interest.

    Research Content

    Nigeria for this study was influenced from the warnings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Several environmental institutions and practitioners have confirmed that climate change would affect developing nations severely. Nigeria been the economic hub of West Africa possesses a high population compared to its neighboring nations.

    Analysis to be employed for Nigeria case study will be associated to primary and secondary objectives;

    1. Areview of the National disaster management framework, and
    2. Development of a framework that will link the identified gaps.

    The results will be presented as follows:

    1. The first section will provide the qualitative approach analysis and discussions of critical findings from the analysis ( Surveys & questionnaires)
    2. The second section will introduce the national disaster management framework establish and implement development policies and strategies.
    3. The third section will illustrate a SWOT and Content Analysis.
    4. The fourth section will highlight case study and cross case analysis as a research method that will help understand situations of uncertainty, and instability of disaster prone communities.
    5. National disaster management framework

    The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) (n.d.) suggest disaster management in Nigeria dates back to 1906 with the establishment of the fire brigade, and with each passing government (Military and Democratic), disaster management remained an ad-hoc arrangement under the office of the head of state. The devastating drought of 1972/73 in Nigeria, prompted the creation of a National Emergency Relief Agency (NERA) in 1976.

    In a bid to embolden disaster management, the federal government of Nigeria (FGN) commissioned an inter-ministerial body to evaluate disaster reduction strategies. Consequently, backed by a decree of the military regime, the status of the NERA changed to that of an independent institution supervised by the office of the presidency. In 1999, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) was established to replace the defunct emergency relief agency and with a mandate to manage disasters nationwide.

    The National Emergency Management Agency encountered challenges and difficulties in implementing its proposed disaster management strategies, thus necessitating the National Disaster Management Framework to correct gaps and improve the delivery of disaster management in Nigeria (“National Emergency Management Agency”, n.d.). Figure 6 depicts the hierarchical relationship of disaster management authorities in Nigeria.

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