Community awareness, preparedness and response towards disasters: A case of Kilosa flood disaster
Disasters have been disrupting the functioning of the community and causing many losses. The victims have been forced to search for basic needs including a place to settle down. This article summarizes evaluation results from a cross-sectional descriptive study conducted in Kilosa, Morogoro to evaluate levels of community awareness on disaster preparedness and response, six month post flood disaster in December 2009. The respondents were 384 adult community members, randomly selected, then administered with semi structured interview and questionnaire. Results revealed serious criticism to the government regarding timing of responses to disasters. Kilosa community was unaware of what to do when disaster strikes and many were not aware of the way to protect their properties during disaster. More than 10,000 people were affected by flood. Of the 384 surveyed 93% replied that they had no experience in preparedness and response techniques in managing disasters and 83% claimed that disasters preparedness and response is totally the government responsibility. Only 17% indicated that it is a community responsibility. When determining urgent needs, 85% had lost their shelter, 73% lost food reserves and 58% lost their economic base. Recommendation is made that local communities should be empowered to respond to disasters and at least the first response should come from the local community and repositioning should be prioritized to restore normal human health and environmental conservation.
KEY WORDS: Flood disaster, Response, Preparedness, Council Health