Monday, 4 June 2012

Alex Stubbings: Lessons Sorely Not Learnt, Or Heard Of, On A Geology Course

Alex Stubbings, GfGD Climate Change Correspondent, writes...

Recently I was reading an interesting book called The Vulnerability of Cities (Professor Mark Pelling, King’s College London) and would like to share a number of interesting lessons learnt based on a few quotes from Chapter 4 – Urban Governance and Disaster. Sharing these quotes presents GfGD readers with the opportunity to:

1) Have a discussion based on these extracts
2) Consider examples and lessons learnt, to enhance our capacity to provide information and knowledge

So, in a rather short entry here goes:

QUOTE 1 = “...The World Bank’s Disaster Management Facility (here and here), established in 1998 to provide a mechanism for feeding disaster prevention into development planning and to improve emergency response lending. The World Bank recognises that rapid urbanisationgreatly increases disaster risk and has sought to integrate disaster management within its urban development project lending.” Extract from p72

QUOTE 2 = “ such scheme, which has met with some success, was the Maharashtra Emergency Earthquake Rehabilitation Programme, launched in response to the 1993 earthquake in the Indian State of Maharashtra, which damaged 230,000 houses in rural and small urban settlements. The programme gained financial support from the World Bank and has been managed by two national NGOs. It encouraged community participation at the village level, with beneficiaries consulted throughout the programme cycle, although the programme fell short of handing over decision making responsibility to local groups. Whilst project managers were initially sceptical of the community participation process, they later came to recognise it as an effective tool for dealing with difficulties that arose during implementation. It is reported that for grassroots actors, involvement in the reconstruction process helped in overcoming the trauma. The participatory process also opened many informal channels of communication between the people and the government, improving adaptation potential.”  Extract from p73

I think this next quote is very helpful. It goes to show what can be accomplished when numerous actors work together, and I’m sure could also be scaled-up, or used in other areas of disaster: urban, rural or geophysical in origin,

QUOTE 3 = “The media can be usefully brought to increase popular awareness of risk and of promoting preparedness. One particularly innovative use of the media comes from the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO)’s work in Central America, and soap operas as the most-listened-to programmes. PAHO has teamed up with NGOs to broadcast an educational soap opera before and during the hurricane season.” Extract from p75

And lastly a rather poignant and hard-hitting truth,

QUOTE 4 = “...Disasters are often linked to failures in the dissemination of information from expert or non-expert sources that could have provided a space for mitigation, preparation or evacuation...” Extract from p77

What are peoples thought’s concerning these quotes? Are there any that you would like to add to, disagree with, or agree with? It would be interesting to hear what you have to say regarding this matter. Feel free to use this blog as a discussion forum (the quotes above are all numbered to make referring to them easier).