Moipone Letsie IDRC-Davos presentation

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5th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2014 Integrative Risk Management - The role of science, technology & practice 24-28 August 2014 in Davos, Switzerland

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  • This presentation presents results on my PhD thesis
  • There are many aspects of vulnerability, arising from various physical, social, economic, and environmental factors.
  • With the emergence of sustainability science and climate change, there has been considerable attention paid towards the unique nature of developing and land-locked countries and their vulnerability to climate change and associated natural hazards. however, no place based, multi-hazards assessment has previously been conducted.
  • The Hazards-of-Place Model of Vulnerability (Cutter 1996). Risk and mitigation interact to produce the hazard potential, which is filtered through (1) the social fabric to create social vulnerability and (2) the geographic context to produce biophysical vulnerability. The interaction between biophysical and social vulnerability creates the place vulnerability.
  • This allowed for a complementary research strategy with the aim of assessing place vulnerability from different perspectives as well as integrating the viewpoints of different stakeholders. The questionnaires developed covered key topics such as: demographic, socioeconomic characteristics, hazard occurrence, effects of the most recent hazard events and coping strategies.
  • Due to its geographical location, economic situation and geological features , Lesotho is vulnerable to hazardous events associated with climate variability and change, eg. droughts, floods, heavy snow, strong winds and severe frost.
  • Lesotho and comprises the four ecological and livelihood zones of Lesotho, namely; the lowlands, foothills, Senqu River valley and the highlands. Different ecological zones affected by different hazards at different times of the year influencing their adaptive capacity and resilience to future hazards

  • Return period (1825-2012): severe frost-3.3; drought-3.5; floods-3.5; strong winds-4.8; heavy snowfall-3.1
  • The physical geography was determining factor for likelihood of hazard occurrence. Eg. differences in elevation, proximity to rivers and slope aspect of each locality.
  • Generally access to resources and services, varied socio-demographic characteristics, influence social vulnerability to hazards
  • At potential risk to such hazards is people, field crops, livestock, buildings, transport infrastructure and economies, all of which are greatly influenced by space/location. While the entire country of Lesotho is vulnerable to natural hazards, some natural hazards (severe frost, flooding and drought) are more prevalent in the southern districts of the country (Mohale’s Hoek and Quthing).
  • These results can provide yardsticks to assess the changes in the nature and spatial distribution of social vulnerability and natural hazard impacts over time. As such, this study can help researchers and community stakeholders to understand whether these are momentary phenomena or whether they reflect a persistent state, inherent of this poor and hazard prone area of Lesotho.
  • This figure illustrates a cyclical nature of place vulnerability in the study region, which combines hazard occurrence, physical and social conditions to analyse the cause-effect relationship and interactive processes between these dimensions of place vulnerability. This integrated approach developed for the study area assumes that when a hazardous event occurs, it triggers physical vulnerabilities and exposes social conditions and processes, causing households and communities to become more vulnerable to future natural hazards. Losses due to natural hazards potentially aggravate existing vulnerabilities in societies and can ultimately lead to greater impacts from future and current natural hazard losses. For instance, the loss of agricultural production due to drought and severe frost in an area adversely impact on food security, casual labour employment and livelihood options. On the other hand, food insecurity and lower incomes can lead to a cycle of problems, which indirectly magnify the impact of natural hazards.

    The external drivers are those factors originating from outside the control of local communities, including distant events and processes (Figure 7.3). For instance, during the early 1990’s, national policies in South Africa resulted in the retrenchment of hundreds of Basotho men from the mines and this had a direct impact on the national economy and on household income. Therefore, the root causes of place vulnerability are embedded in economic, social and institutional processes at a broader scale. Hence, vulnerability at the local level is indistinguishably linked to processes happening at other geographic scales. This shows that the interconnectedness of processes taking place at local and other scales influence dynamism and complexity of place vulnerability (Eriksen et al., 2005). Similarly, social vulnerability described in this study is related to differential place vulnerability resulting from social inequalities and lack of access to resources. In particular, social vulnerability parameters that impact a community’s ability to recover from future hazard events can be related to the inherent factors such as household structure, economic situation and demographic characteristics.
  • Moipone Letsie IDRC-Davos presentation

    1. 1. 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2014 ‘Integrative Risk Management - The role of science, technology & practice‘ • 24-28 August 2014 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org An assessment of place vulnerability to natural hazards in Lesotho, southern Africa Moipone Letsie & Stefan Grab. University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
    2. 2. 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2014 ‘Integrative Risk Management - The role of science, technology & practice‘ • 24-28 August 2014 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org Structure • Aims and objectives • Framework & Methodology • Study area • Results • Conclusions
    3. 3. 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2014 ‘Integrative Risk Management - The role of science, technology & practice‘ • 24-28 August 2014 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org Definition of terms Vulnerability = f(exposure, resistance, adaptive capacity) (ISDR, 2007) defines vulnerability as the conditions determined by social, economic, physical and environmental factors or processes that increase the susceptibility of a community to the impact of a hazard. Characteristics of an individual or community and their characteristics that influence their capability to anticipate, cope with, resist and recover from the impact of a natural hazard (Wisner et al., 2003). Natural hazards are severe and extreme weather and climate events that occur naturally in all parts of the world ….. (WMO)
    4. 4. 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2014 ‘Integrative Risk Management - The role of science, technology & practice‘ • 24-28 August 2014 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org Aim & objectives This study explores factors underlying spatial vulnerability of places to natural hazards in south-western Lesotho. The primary objective, providing a focal point to this assessment, is to determine how the hazard profile, socioeconomic makeup and biophysical environment influence spatial vulnerabilities in the study region. • By broadening the scope of vulnerability to include biophysical and socioeconomic characteristics, the study emphasises the concept of place vulnerability as a foundation for understanding Lesotho’s vulnerability to natural hazards. • Prior vulnerability assessments in Lesotho have investigated vulnerability in terms of identifying populations that are most food insecure and vulnerable to hunger. • Thus, the study seeks to address the gaps in methodology used in the previous vulnerability assessments and the type of data collected in Lesotho.
    5. 5. The study used a modification of the ‘Hazards of Place Model’ of vulnerability to assess place vulnerability to natural hazards (Cutter, 1996). Using this model, a combination of social and physical variables was examined to assess place vulnerability. 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2014 ‘Integrative Risk Management - The role of science, technology & practice‘ • 24-28 August 2014 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org Framework Mitigation Hazard potential Geographic context elevation proximity Biophysical vulnerability Place vulnerability Social fabric -Experience -Perception -Built env. Social vulnerability Risk
    6. 6. 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2014 ‘Integrative Risk Management - The role of science, technology & practice‘ • 24-28 August 2014 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org Methodology The study adopted a triangulation of quantitative and qualitative methods which combined data from different sources. • Social vulnerability was developed from indicators of demographic, social and economic variables of households and communities (census data, household interviews, key informants. • Physical vulnerability was developed from the history of hazard occurrence, climate data, focus group discussions, biophysical and environmental characteristics. • Data analysed with SPSS & ArcGIS – By harnessing geographic techniques such as GIS and spatial statistics, this study investigates the spatial nature of multiple hazards and the specific communities that are affected differently in Lesotho.
    7. 7. 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2014 ‘Integrative Risk Management - The role of science, technology & practice‘ • 24-28 August 2014 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org Study area • Land locked • 1.8 million population 30 600km • More than 70% population depend on subsistence farming • High unemployment rate • Highly mountainous terrain ((1 388 m to 3 482 m) over grazing and land degradation • Not much has been done by government to reduce society’s vulnerability to natural hazards
    8. 8. Physical characteristics of the study area 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2014 ‘Integrative Risk Management - The role of science, technology & practice‘ • 24-28 August 2014 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org
    9. 9. 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2014 ‘Integrative Risk Management - The role of science, technology & practice‘ • 24-28 August 2014 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org Elevation map Lesotho has varied geomorphology & topography including micro-climatological influences with a significant impact on the ecology & economy of the country. These factors characterize the formation of distinct ecological zones in Lesotho which include the lowlands (17%), foothills (15%), mountains (59%) and Senqu River Valley (9%)
    10. 10. 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2014 ‘Integrative Risk Management - The role of science, technology & practice‘ • 24-28 August 2014 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org Natural occurrence and frequency
    11. 11. 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2014 ‘Integrative Risk Management - The role of science, technology & practice‘ • 24-28 August 2014 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org
    12. 12. 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2014 ‘Integrative Risk Management - The role of science, technology & practice‘ • 24-28 August 2014 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org Impacts
    13. 13. 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2014 ‘Integrative Risk Management - The role of science, technology & practice‘ • 24-28 August 2014 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org
    14. 14. 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2014 ‘Integrative Risk Management - The role of science, technology & practice‘ • 24-28 August 2014 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org Impacts
    15. 15. 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2014 ‘Integrative Risk Management - The role of science, technology & practice‘ • 24-28 August 2014 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org Physical vulnerability • Biophysical data & natural hazards information overlaid to produce physical vulnerability map which identifies spatial variations • Lowland areas & river valleys have high physical vulnerability scores to natural hazards, apart from drought, these areas are affected by a range of natural hazards (flooding, severe frost and strong winds) directly associated with topography & high population densities. • Highlands & cattle posts less vulnerable because of their topography and distance from the river valleys. These areas are less susceptible to flooding and damaging strong winds but suffer from severe frost and heavy snowfall.
    16. 16. 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2014 ‘Integrative Risk Management - The role of science, technology & practice‘ • 24-28 August 2014 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org • 27 variables used in SPSS to Social vulnerability construct social vulnerability index, variables were reduced into 8 components named: access to resources, vulnerable population groups, population density, family structure, economic status, employment, access to services and rurality. • Least vulnerable areas were in urban lowlands- high levels of education, formal employment, earn regular income, have diverse livelihood options.
    17. 17. 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2014 ‘Integrative Risk Management - The role of science, technology & practice‘ • 24-28 August 2014 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org • Overlaid social & physical vulnerability Overall place vulnerability layers • Place vulnerability highest in rural highlands & along the river valleys where heightened levels of social vulnerability overlap with areas susceptible to drought, strong winds, severe frost and flooding & high social vulnerability levels • Spatially, the least vulnerable community councils are situated in the foothills, lowland, uninhabited and inaccessible cattle posts. • Low place vulnerability in rural highlands results from low physical vulnerability due to low population densities and settlement location (on the foot of slopes and are less exposed to flooding) and are mainly susceptible to drought, strong winds and heavy snowfall. However, their dependency on livestock farming (less prone to frost as compared to crop farming in the lowlands) contribute to relatively low physical vulnerability levels. • Overall, place vulnerability is a result of physical geography than social vulnerability
    18. 18. 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2014 ‘Integrative Risk Management - The role of science, technology & practice‘ • 24-28 August 2014 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org Conclusion • Many communities mainly vulnerable due to their location, geographic exposure, low household incomes, low rainfall, topography and greater reliance on climate sensitive sectors such as agriculture, these factors increase people’s vulnerability and reduce their productivity and resilience to external shocks • Natural hazards are recurring & intense, increasing impact on people and their livelihoods. • Rural highlands are highly vulnerable- lack of resources and services, poverty, unemployment, presence of vulnerable groups (orphans, elderly, female and child headed households) are the most influential factors to social vulnerability & reduce their inability to recover from future shocks - These underlying factors create conditions of vulnerability that result in insufficient capacity to cope with natural hazards and disasters
    19. 19. 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2014 ‘Integrative Risk Management - The role of science, technology & practice‘ • 24-28 August 2014 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org Conclusions • Physical geography, exposure to natural hazards and past experience with natural hazards are the most important factors influencing physical and the overall place vulnerability. • Identifying the importance of the key physical vulnerability indicators (topography, climate and soils) can signal to decision makers where and how to develop communities that are more resilient to natural hazards over the longer-term. • Vulnerability in the study area is dynamic both seasonally and temporally and is influenced by environmental and global changes. There is a distinct seasonality to risk and exposure posed by natural hazards (e.g. snow fall and frost hazards in winter and floods in summer).
    20. 20. Endogenous and exogenous factors influencing place vulnerability in Lesotho 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2014 Hazard profile - frequency & intensity, exposure ‘Integrative Risk Management - The role of science, technology & practice‘ • 24-28 August 2014 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org Mitigation-diversification of livelihoods, infrastructure development, job creation, drought resistant crops, wind resistant houses, climate information Biophysical conditions – geology, topography, proximity to rivers & roads, floodplains, land degradation, soil erosion Place vulnerability Social conditions – poverty, HIV/AIDS, weak social networks, dependency on agriculture, unemployment, inaccessibility, child & female headed households Coping strategies – livestock sales, migration External drivers- land use & climate change, infrastructure, mine retrenchments
    21. 21. Added value for the Post 2015 Framework for 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2014 ‘Integrative Risk Management - The role of science, technology & practice‘ • 24-28 August 2014 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org Disaster Risk Reduction • How did your work support the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action: – A place vulnerability assessment to natural hazards presented in this study address some of the aims outlined by the global and regional bodies such as the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction in Africa, which among others, (ISDR, 2004; 2010) called for improving the assessment and identification of natural hazards. – This research is in agreement with the Southern African Vulnerability (SAVI) framework, which seeks to examine local vulnerabilities to shocks (O’Brien et al., 2010). – By using local knowledge gathered from household interviews, focus groups and key informants interviews, this research is therefore compliant with the framework of the IPCC (2012), which calls for the integration of local knowledge with scientific and technical knowledge to improve disaster risk reduction.
    22. 22. From your perspective what are the main gaps, needs and further steps to be addressed in the Post 2015 Framework for 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2014 ‘Integrative Risk Management - The role of science, technology & practice‘ • 24-28 August 2014 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org Disaster Risk Reduction in • Research: – Establish national disaster risk reduction research centres to support policy for effective decision making in Africa • Education & Training: – Strengthen DRR curriculum development in primary, secondary and higher education institutions as a strategy for mainstreaming and integrating DRR into the daily lives of communities. This includes promoting and piloting local innovations and technologies in DRR education and research. – Strengthen scientific capacity to develop and apply methodologies, studies and models to assess vulnerabilities to and the impact of geological, weather, water and climate-related hazards, including the improvement of regional monitoring capacities and assessments. – Strengthen the countries’ capacity to implement early warning systems for rural populations, through the strengthening of key technical capacity and the rehabilitation of key infrastructure – Build capacity for better technical integration of climate change issues into development planning, by promoting tools and methodologies for the analysis of vulnerability and the development of innovative adaptation solutions.
    23. 23. From your perspective what are the main gaps, needs and further steps to be addressed in the Post 2015 Framework for Disaster 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2014 ‘Integrative Risk Management - The role of science, technology & practice‘ • 24-28 August 2014 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org Risk Reduction in • Implementation & Practice: – It is important to maintain the priority actions for HFA on governance, information and early warning systems, disaster education, (using social media) – Take into account the high rate of urbanisation and environmental degradation, particularly with flooding events, improve regulations and enforcement of land use planning, for rural and urban development planning.
    24. 24. From your perspective what are the main gaps, needs and further steps to be addressed in the Post 2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2014 ‘Integrative Risk Management - The role of science, technology & practice‘ • 24-28 August 2014 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org – Policy • Integration of DRR and climate change adaptation • There is a need to employ a multi-hazard risk assessment approach to better define risk • Promote synergies between development, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation for resilience (improve livelihoods and mainstream resilience and risk management into policies, strategies and investment plans). • Include social protection policies in order to reduce chronic and emerging vulnerabilities paying particular attention to vulnerable groups (children, women, disabled and elderly) in DRR initiatives due to their acute vulnerability • There is a need to promote domestic resource mobilization and public-private partnerships; enhance regional networking to address trans-boundary issues; ensure that platforms are located at the highest decision making levels; and ensure coordination with community platforms.
    25. 25. 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2014 ‘Integrative Risk Management - The role of science, technology & practice‘ • 24-28 August 2014 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org Thank you

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