Challenges to preparedness as a coping strategy

Stigter et al. (2003a) put forward the opinion that coping with flood disasters would gain from the same change of emphasis in the approach as took place in Japan with respect to earth quakes, ttey thought that in such an approach additional measures had to get focus and different questions would have to be asked with respect to preparing victims for the occurrence of floods. It was concluded from the Oris-sa super cyclone disaster in India that trying to build preparedness models maybe counterproductive, because of the occurrences and effects being extremely location specific. Furthermore, lessons learned from very exemplarious villages fitted in three preparedness categories: (i) livelihood-focused support, (ii) participation perspectives, and (iii) community perspectives (Stigter et al. 2003a). tte challenges of giving contents to such an approach would apply to the other disasters that we have considered as well.

As to the first category, beyond contingency and response planning there needs to be basic contemplation on whether there are alternatives for the present livelihood situation, ttese could include changing place, changing subsistence activities, changing income generating activities, for the individual/family, part of the village, and the whole village. Insurances may be a way out. Governments may offer such possibilities, villages/families/individuals have to respond; conditions may force people to leave or to accept worsening conditions. For the second category, all other preparedness aspects we discussed in this paper have participation issues, tte differentiation discussed by Stigter et al. (2007) shows that such issues depend on education, income, occupation, and information channels. It appeared that the more the participation, the better are the chances of solving problems or living with problems. Finally, it was shown that where a community was able to organize itself, the third preparedness category, with an eye on a common (still differentiated) future, offers increased chances for a more successful future. Such factors are essential in the total preparedness picture that we wanted to give, tte challenges involved are getting people organized by themselves, NGOs or the government in preparations for future disasters in these ways.

We will now end this paper with some challenges to methodologies in disaster science and development of an Agrometeorological Advisory Service (AAS), tte complexity of the problems necessitates cooperation between research scientists in various disciplines. It is becoming important that we rapidly identify gaps in our knowledge and initiate research aimed at operationally increasing the adaptability of agriculture in the face of climatic change.

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