Evaluating earthquake disaster risk management in schools in Rungwe Volcanic Province in Tanzania

16 August 2013

This article establishes existing knowledge on earthquakes and coping mechanisms employed in reducing the severity of adverse impacts caused by an earthquake disaster in a specific locality. The purpose of the study was to recommend useful measures for disaster risk management. It also more particularly aimed at assessing mechanisms employed in reducing the disaster risk and integrating knowledge of disasters and hazards in primary and secondary school curricula. The study was carried out in Rungwe Volcanic Province in Rungwe District, Tanzania, and included recording people’s attitudes towards earthquake disaster and locations of schools. It employed focus group discussions, public hearings and interviews in order to capture the actual situation relating to risk and vulnerability assessments by the community. The study revealed high levels of risk and vulnerability to the impact of earthquakes on the part of the community, who accepted earthquakes as a normal phenomenon and therefore did not employ special measures to reduce the impact. The study showed that the community’s coping mechanisms and the extent to which disaster management knowledge has been integrated in school curricula are inadequate in addressing earthquake disasters. It is thus recommended that traditional and modern technologies be integrated in curricula and later in sustainable practices; such technologies include the belief in ‘Nyifwila’, traditional housing style and wooden housing, and non-structural planning for disaster risk management.