ROLE OF GOVERNMENT AND COMMUNITY IN LANDSLIDE RISK AND VULNERABILITY REDUCTION: A CASE STUDY OF GAKENKE DISTRICT, RWANDA.

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ABSTRACT

The frequency and the severity of landslides have increased in recent times globally, with serious implications for human lives and property, as well as national economies. In many disaster response initiatives, community-based disaster management approach is adopted as a quick solution to emergency response. This study was carried out in Gakenke District in the Northern Province of Rwanda, which is highly prone to landslide disasters. It investigated the role of government and local communities in landslide risk and vulnerability reduction. Quantitative and qualitative data were obtained from structured questionnaires, interviews and on-site observation. In total, 180 respondents participated in the questionnaire administration and an additional 10 disaster managers in interviews sessions. Quantitative data were input into SPSS software and analyzed using Chi-square and graphical techniques, while qualitative data was analyzed using content analysis technique. The study revealed that communities of Gakenke District have basic knowledge about landslides including warning signals, causes and effects of landslide disasters, as well as mitigation measures. Over half (54.71%) of respondents pointed to torrential rainfall as the main warning sign for the occurrence landslides in the district, The study revealed also  that the major reasons for vulnerability to landslides are poverty, lack of awareness, sitting of buildings on sloppy areas, deforestation, quarrying activities and inappropriate building codes. The results further showed that though 94.71% of respondents were aware of areas classified as landslide-prone areas, as much as 31.29% still settled in these areas. On community/ government collaboration, 97.06% of the respondents confirmed that they collaborate with local government officials at different levels regarding landslide risk reduction. One major conclusion was that the communities and local government officials collaborate extensively at different levels to address issues related to landslide disaster awareness, emergency response and measure to reduce disaster  risks.  This  collaboration  has  helped  in  reducing  landslide  disaster  impacts  in  the

Gakenke                                                                                                                                 District.