Disaster management in arid and semi arid areas (ASALs) in Kenya: The case of Baringo County
Chepsongol, James Binsai
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Disasters have continued to pose great challenges to many Governments and organizations across the world. By examining past disaster experiences, it can be observed that preparedness, response, mitigation and resilience to disasters are proportional to a country's level of development. Developed countries tend to suffer less compared to developing countries which are normally devastated during disasters. Efficient and effective management of disasters has the potential of enhancing economic productivity and growth across the country. The application of latest technology for early warning systems and acquisition of modern equipment help in training personnel to deal with management of various kinds of disasters. This study undertakes to find out whether adequate and effective legislation exists for disaster management and how this impacts on the challenges and opportunities for managing disasters in Kenya. The study was premised on the assumption of the existence of legal and institutional frameworks for national disaster risk reduction and that there are opportunities and challenges for mainstreaming disaster management agenda at national and county levels. The study utilized the Social Capital Theory approach on public awareness to analyze the data. Staff at the Ministry dealing directly with the management of disasters, was targeted and included a sample of about 60 members of staff. Purposive Sampling was employed and questionnaires used to collect data from the respondents. Secondary data was collected from the libraries including records and data from the Ministry. The data collected was coded, checked for accuracy and tabulated for summary purposes. Both qualitative and quantitative analysis was used to answer to the arising characteristics of the disaster situation. Descriptive Statistics was used to analyze the data. The Statistical Package for Social Scientists and Microsoft Excel computer programs was used analyze the data. The data is presented using frequency. From the study, the respondents affirmed that the drought, famine, landslide sand cattle rustling is the main disasters in Baringo County. They said that the legislation and policies on disaster management were available with majority saying that they did not know of their existence. They rated disaster management in Baringo County as poor because of slow response, efficient equipment and facilities, improvement of infrastructure to hasten response and create policies and legislation that are necessary for effective disaster management. There is also need to increase the cross border peace meeting an enhance frequency to help in managing cattle rustling, develop and encourage farmers use irrigation for food, forest and vegetation cover in landslides-prone areas through reforestation and stopping farming activities on the hills and cliffs.