Capacities of local communities and their culture is important in defining their level of preparedness, response and recovery from a disaster


Coping strategies for disaster prevention and mitigation are variously referred to as “informal security systems or local capacities, and more specifically as indigenous technical knowledge or appropriate technology” (Bankoff, 2004a, p. 32). They include various resources such as land utilization and conservation strategies, crop husbandry and diversification practices, exploitation of geographical complementarities in ecosystems, symbiotic exchanges between communities, the development of patronage relationships, migration, the redeployment of household labour and complex dietary adjustments (Drčze & Sen, 1989), but also the coping practices that are aimed to reduce psychological distress or stressful situations (Fleishman, 1984). In that context, local knowledge represents the resource that most people have access to. Hence, it is important to take capacities of local communities and cultures into consideration, when discussing their preparedness, response, and recovery from a disaster.

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