A social audit of disaster preparedness, plans and structures in Kenya
Kenya like other countries in Africa is afflicted by various disasters most of which are climate related. These disasters are triggered by such hazards as drought, floods which are climate related. The country is also faced with man induced disasters for instance collapsed buildings, civil strive leading to incidences of Internally Displaced Persons,Besieged Populations, and Refugee Populations. Godschalk (1991) defines preparedness in terms of actions taken in advance of an emergency, to develop operational capabilities and to facilitate an effective response in the event that an emergency occurs. Gillespie and Streeter (1987) in their definition refer to preparedness as planning, resource identification, warning systems, training, simulations, and other pre-disaster actions taken for the sole intent of improving the safety and effectiveness of a community's response during a disaster. Mileti (1991),asserts that preparedness includes fundamental activities such as formulating, testing, and exercising disaster plans; training disaster management/response teams and the general public; and communicating (to the public and other stakeholders) about disaster vulnerability and ways to combat such disasters. In assimilating the various' definitions advanced, Mc Entire and Myers (2004) view disaster preparedness as involving anticipatory measures taken to increase response and recovery capabilities. Going by the above definition one would expect that any organization or country would have elaborate disaster preparedness plans and structures or institutions to manage disasters.This study therefore intended to examine how the country handles the myriad of disasters that afflict it and especially to understand what disaster preparedness measures are in place. The study examined the disaster preparedness plans, resources and institutions that were in place and how they were applied during times of disasters. Secondary and primary data was used to understand the problem, which was supplemented by interviewing disaster management practitioners both in the public and private sector including non-state actors.