A rights-based analysis of disaster risk reduction framework in Zimbabwe and its implications for policy and practice
Bongo, Pathias P
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This paper examines closely the institutional arrangements for disaster risk reduction from a rights-based perspective. In Zimbabwe, the disaster risk reduction framework and the ensuing practice have not yet accommodated some of the most vulnerable and excluded groups, especially the terminally ill, people with disabilities and the very poor. Top-down approaches to disaster management have largely been blamed for lack of resilience and poor preparedness on the part of sections of society that are hard hit by disasters. Often, disaster risk reduction has also been modeled along the needs and priorities of able-bodied people, whilst largely excluding those with various forms of impairments. Against this background, this paper is based on field research on people’s disaster risk experiences in four districts of Zimbabwe, with a special emphasis on the disaster risk reduction framework. It provides a critical analysis of the disaster risk reduction framework in Zimbabwe, focusing on the various forms of disadvantages to different categories of people that the current framework has tended to generate. The paper thus examines the current disaster risk reduction framework as largely informed by the Civil Protection Act and the Disaster Risk Management Policy Draft as revised in 2011. Crucial at this stage is the need to interrogate the disaster risk reduction framework, right from formulation processes with regard to participation and stakeholders, particularly the grassroots people who bear the greatest brunt of vulnerability, shocks, stresses and trends. In conclusion, the paper stresses the potential benefits of adopting an inclusive, rights-based thrust to disaster risk reduction in Zimbabwe.