Pattern Of Coastal Hazards And Community Adaptations Along The West Coastline Of Bakingili, Cameroon
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Unlike never before, hazards are part of the world around us, and their occurrence is inevitable. Floods, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, wildfires and other hazardous events are natural phenomena that we cannot control.
This research was carried out in July 2020 with the main objective of investigating the pattern of Coastal hazards and community adaptations along the west coastline of Bakingili, Cameroon. Primary data was obtained through observation and questionnaires.
Fieldwork was carried out in four villages (Bakingili, Debunscha beach, Debunscha Palm estate and Idenau Bibunde) along the west coastline. The main stakeholders identified were household representatives, NGO administrators, and local chiefs.
Household questionnaires and semi-structured interviews were administered to 15 households using the simple random sampling technique. Descriptive statistics were used to represent charts, figures, tables and graphs.
The results showed that 8% of the respondents perceived that flood usually occur due to the distance of the home to the sea, 4% of the respondents perceive that floods occur due to the distance of the home to exposed coastal flooded areas, 2% of the respondents said coastal hazards occur due to the elevation of the home and 1% of the respondents credit the occurrence of the coastal hazards to the perceived distance of the home to exposed coastal hazards.
Proper adaptation strategies have to be put in place to reduce the rate of vulnerability of the hazards.
Keywords : Coastal hazards, Community adaptation, West coastline
Unlike never before, hazards are part of the world around us, and their occurrence is inevitable. Floods, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, wildfires and other hazardous events are natural phenomena that we cannot control (Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency, (CDERA), 1997).
They are one of the greatest phenomena that have for a very long period of time left the minds of many people across the globe in an inconceivable state.
Zou & Thomally, (2008) uphold hazards as potentially damaging physical event, phenomenon or human activity that may cause the loss of life or injury, property damage, social and economic disruption or environmental degradation.
The global implication of natural disaster cannot be minimized since it has a lot to do with the livelihood of plants and animals as well as changing our planet and as such monitoring to understand the pattern of such hazards becomes an urgent issue (Trevor,2018). Hazards vary by origins: natural or induced by human processes; and can be single, sequential or combined in their origin and effects.
Each hazard is characterized by its location, intensity, frequency and probability. These occurrences are indeed tragic for the people living in the area who lost homes, farms, businesses, family and loved ones.
The current rapid economic development of countries in the world today have increased the likelihood of more widespread destruction of property and the loss of human lives due to future geological and coastal hazards.
Cases in point include recurrent Landslides in Ximono village (Schuan Province), led to at least 10 people killed and nearly 100 people missing;
August 2018 severe flood events recorded in the South Indian state of Kerala due to unusually high rainfall during the monsoon season with recorded huge dead tools of Over 483 persons and 14 recorded missing;
the 2017 United States Hurricane disaster that caused damages of over $180 billion more than any other natural hazard in the USA’s history leaving approximately 203,000 homes destroyed, displacing about 780,000 persons necessitating assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Vijagan, 2018).
Cameroon, a country on the west of central Africa on the Bight of Bonny, part of the Gulf of Guinea at the Atlantic Ocean, faces diverse climatic threads along her 3600kms coastline. The densely forested coastal region includes some of the wettest places on earth (for example Debundscha’s average wet season rainfall is 5000mm (Molua, 2006).
Current environmental changes like the case of climate extremes impact on the Coastal communities along the coastline of Cameroon through the increased intensity of storms, floods and land subsidence which may have significant implications for human settlement (Molua, 2006).
The 26th of July 2018 flood disaster in Limbe, Cameroon thee principal towns of the Southwest region of Cameroon which claimed the lives of about 4 people and approximately 10 wounded and hospitalized (Nnamdi, 2016).
Amongst others, go a long way to paint the astronomical impacts of hazards on man and his environment. As such, they are often considered as a vulnerable area in Cameroon.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – Coastal Zone Management Subgroup (IPCC-CZMS) (1992) defined vulnerability of coastal zones by their degree of incapability to cope with the impact of environmental changes manifested to hazard occurrences amongst others from climate change and accelerated sea-level rise (SLR).
In Africa, natural disaster just like in the global context is unpreventable; therefore, adaptation strategies are also a call for concern.
Disaster risk reduction policies had been known to be carried out, using scientific knowledge, while ignoring the value of indigenous knowledge.
The extent to which indigenous knowledge has been usefully applied in disaster risk reduction in Africa has been understudied, probably because of ignorance regarding the potential value of this knowledge.
However, local people have certain capacities that have evolved over centuries and this capacity and knowledge have been tested over time and proven to be sustainable and effective in both reducing disasters and managing hazards. As such they should not be left out when it concerns strategies to manage disaters, (Gaillard and Mercer, 2012).
It is therefore inextricably important to assess the spatial pattern of coastal hazards within the west coastline of Bakingili, Cameroon.
This becomes very crucial as environmental sustainability and human wellbeing is the target of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and a pathway towards building resilient communities amidst natural hazards.
Hazards and their implications are an alarming environmental threat of the 21st century. Hazards happen all over the world and in Cameroon their occurrence is inevitable.
Their manifestation or frequency may not be directly foretold.
As such, communities or localities in hazard-prone areas ought to gain more knowledge on the pattern and frequency of such hazards and devise good anticipatory measures to cope with such events should they occur.
However, In Cameroon’s long stretch Coastline, the prevalence of coastal hazards remains a mystery and their implications are devastating to the local communities as it causes loss of lifes, loss of homes, massive displacement of affected household dzellers, loss of businesses, change in the landscape and environmental degradation.
Despite many studies on hazards in the country, there is still a gap in the literature in understanding community perceptions of the pattern of coastal hazards, their implications and the types of adaptations adopted which constitute a gateway to building resilience to such environmental abnormalities to man and his environment.
The aim of this study is to evaluate the patterns of coastal hazards and to examine the various community adaptation strategies adapted to mitigate the effects of coastal hazards on the west coast of Bakingili.
This will help the government and the inhabitants to adopt viable strategies to solve the plagues coastal hazards cause in the study area.
In line with the aforementioned issues raised, this study seeks to provide answers to the following.
What is the pattern of coastal hazards and adaptations put in place by communities along the West Coastline of Bakingili, Cameroon?
The specific questions of this study include the following:
What is the extent of the community’s perception of the pattern of coastal hazards prevalent in the West coastline of Bakingili, Cameroon?
What are the implications of coastal hazards on the communities in the West Coastline of Bakingili, Cameroon?
What is the role of the government and the local communities in the adaptation strategies processes in the study area?
The main objective of this study is to assess the frequency of coastal hazards and the related adaptations have been put in place by communities along the West Coastline of Bakingili, Cameroon.
The specific objectives that guide this study include:
- To assess the extent of the community’s perception of the pattern of coastal hazards prevalent in the West coastline of Bakingili, Cameroon?
- To examine the implications of coastal hazards on the communities in the West Coastline of Bakingili, Cameroon?
- To examine communities’ adaptation strategies put in place to cope with from the implications of coastal hazards in the West coastline of Bakingili, Cameroon