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Title: Closing the gaps in disaster management and response: drawing on local experiences with Cyclone Idai in Chimanimani, Zimbabwe.
Authors: Siyongwana, Pakama Q.
School of Biology and Environmental Sciences
Keywords: Cyclone Idai.;Flood disaster management.;Local knowledge and action.;Social networks.;Zimbabwe.
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Springer
Abstract: Cyclone Idai in Zimbabwe exposed deficiencies in the country’s disaster management system. This study uses a phenomenological case exploration of the experiences of local residents in Rusitu Valley following cyclone-induced floods that affected the area in March 2019. Through capturing narratives of participants who were recruited through chain referrals, the research intends to understand how local actors, utilizing their local-based response systems, managed to fill in the voids that characterize disaster management practice in Zimbabwe. Results show that the participation of local ‘‘heroes’’ and‘‘Samaritans,’’ by deploying their social networks, norms, relationships, practices, and modest ingenuity, helped to speed up response times and minimize threats to lives and livelihoods. Documentation of the stories of local actors about their disaster experiences also gives a richer picture of the Cyclone Idai disaster. Although the community response system also facilitated the operation of external disaster management agencies, their premature withdrawal tended to weaken the trust and values existing in the area, and created tensions between the disaster-affected people and other villagers. Given the delays in formal responses by the government and other external relief agencies, the practices of local actors, although spontaneous and largely uncoordinated, offer rich insights into the design and development of disaster management regimes.
DOI: 10.1007/s13753-020-00290-x
Appears in Collections:Journal articles

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