Climate Change Awareness and Community Vulnerability and Adaptation to Flood Disasters In Human Settlements in Botswana
In recent decades the most traumatic floods disasters were experienced throughout Botswana in 2000; those floods affected the whole of Botswana (Central Statistics Office, 2009). The floods caused much loss of human life as well as livestock, inflicted extensive damage to property and infrastructure such as roads, bridges, railways, powerlines, other public and private assets (Central Statistics Office, 2009). In June 2009 there were unusual flash floods throughout Botswana. These caused much damage to property and disrupted normal life because they caught communities unaware and unprepared. For instance, floods affect community livelihood support systems such as subsistence agriculture. In addition, there is destruction of intergrated environmental infrastructure such as drainage systems, and sanitation facilities, which in turn exposes communities to the risk of water borne diseases. Recent cases of flooding in Botswana have shown that services such as education in schools is disrupted as teachers and students alike lose several school days while awaiting either rescue operations or awaiting the floods to subside and repairs to be carried out on buildings and other infrastructure. This is due to the fact that winter rainfall is not normal in the country. The floods disaster scenario that has been emerging in Botswana is not isolated from global events. In the last decade since 2000 the occurrences of floods as a climate induced disaster have become more widespread across the world. Flood disasters mostly adversely affect urban settlements, because this is where most human populations and assets are located. Botswana as a semi-arid area has historically not been vulnerable to frequent climate change related natural disasters such as floods. In fact, drought has by far been the most common climate related disaster in Botswana. Global climate change is considered one of the contributors to the increased severity of floods throughout the world. Many cities in Africa, Asia, and Europe have since 2000 been subjected to devastating floods. Yet despite the increasing frequency, intensity and unpredictable occurances of floods in space and time so far there have been very little if any major scientific investigations to assess the extent of community awareness on climate change as well as vulnerability and adapatation capacity to floods in human settlements in Botswana. As a result, there has also been no evidenced based practical action to promote climate change awareness and reduce communities’ vulnerability to floods as well as enhance their adapatation capacity to the disasters. This project sets out to accomplish the two aspects simultenously.
Area Of Work:
Climate Change Mitigation
Project Characteristics and Results
Promoting Public Awareness of Global Environment
As indicated above one of the objectives of the project will be “To create community awareness by disseminating information on how they could reduce activities that contribute to climate change and exacerbate flood disasters”. Linked to that objective it was also stated that one of the project outputs will be “To conduct public awareness campaigns through workshops among the communities in the project sites by disseminating information from the study on how they could reduce their own activities that adversely contribute to climate change and exacerbate flood disasters, and also enhance their resilience to floods”. Clearly, creating public awareness among communities about the link between human activity and valunerability to flood disasters is an important platform on which their understanding of the impact of local activities on the global environment could be created and enhanced. Similarly, the environmental awareness workshops will indicate to communities the interconnectedness of the forces driving climate change, and how that contributes to escalation of flood disasters.
Notable Community Participation
Community workshops will be carried out to disseminate results of the investigative aspect of the project. Prior to that focus groups will have been conducted as an interactive and participatory research method to assess community awareness on climate change and vulnerability and resilience to floods. University students will be engaged as part of their learning for both research and community awareness activities. In addition, flood disaster vulnerability maps will be developed as a take home for the communities in the project area to use in the long term. The vulnerability maps will not only empower communities in the project area to reduce their own vulnerability and also enhance their resilience capacity to flood disasters but could also be replicated in communities beyond the project area. These maps will be composed of a GIS Database with digital map layers linked to attributes data about the entire ecosystem of the area composed of coverages which includes the followings: landforms, geology, soils, vegetation, built-up/ developed areas and the animals and their habitats. That way these intelligent maps can be employed to measure trends, which can help to forecast future community needs, and plan accordingly to guarantee the quality of life for everyone in relation to the flood zones. Furthermore, with GIS, the scientists are able to identify problems, respond to them efficiently, and share the results with the affected communities. With the computer techniques suggested here, communication and collaboration between various stakeholders will be through: electronic mail, discussion lists, and computer bulletin boards which could make it far easier for the stakeholders to communicate and share ideas, locally, nationally, and internationally. To this end, distance-learning techniques as well could be employed to make it possible to hold interactive classes and workshops simultaneously at distant locations. GIS is a very powerful technology because it allows for the integration of data and methods in ways that support traditional forms of geographical analysis, such as map overlay analysis as well as new types of analysis and modelling that are beyond the capability of manual methods. With the use of GIS it will be possible to map, model, query, and analyze large quantities of data all held together within a single database. This will allow for future vulnerability maps revision based on any new scenarios which might occur.
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|University of Botswana|
|Ms Keneilwe Moseki|
|Phone: +267 3913709|
Plot 3491, Extension 4
Gaborone , SADC ,