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Community resilience to natural disasters in the informal settlements in Mwanza City, Tanzania

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The impacts of natural disasters on communities living in hazard prone areas are wide ranging and complex. In Mwanza, steep slopes, rocky hills and river valleys are inhabited by society's poorest people. These areas are prone to natural disasters. Residents have accumulated coping mechanisms for disaster risks and impact reduction. We combine spatial data, household surveys and data from focus groups to identify and rank areas based on their exposure to major disasters. We also examine household and communal mitigation efforts in relation to these disasters. Most areas of the city are exposed to at least one of the natural disasters studied. Pre- and post-disaster risk reduction measures are influenced by the site of homesteads and the socioeconomic situation of households. Current resilience measures are skewed towards the development of physical infrastructure. The challenge of reducing disaster risks in Mwanza involves recognizing the role of non-infrastructure based factors that promote urban resilience to natural disasters.
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Keywords: Tanzania; adaptation; hazard; natural disaster; resilience; risk

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography, Population Studies and Research Centre, University of Dar es Salaam, DSM, Tanzania 2: Centre For Sustainability Studies, Lund University – LUCSUS, Lund, Sweden

Publication date: August 24, 2018

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