The community awareness and preparedness for floods along the lower Tana River, Tana River County
This study was undertaken in the Garsen and Wenje Divisions of the lower course of Tana River that is located in Tana River County. Over the time, lower Tana River has experienced flooding events of varying intensities and a delta has formed as it enters the Indian Ocean. The aim of the study was to find out the community awareness and preparedness for floods along the lower reaches Tana River, where households reside along a flood plain, which is 4 kilometres wide from the river. Specific objectives of the study: analysis of community awareness of forms of conveying flood information and alerts, analyze preparedness to respond to flood events and find out available facilities to combat flood problems. The main instrument for data collection was questionnaire administered on a sample size of 115 household heads drawn from sublocations selected from divisions, using a multistage sampling technique in a two stages. The selection of sublocations that border lower reaches of Tana River formed the first stage. A total of 7 sublocations were selected in two divisions. The second stage was to select respondents from the subgroup of household heads. The questionnaire format contained closed and open ended questions. In the analysis, data was subjected to frequency analysis as an exploratory technique and G-test applied for hypothesis testing. It was revealed that the communities along the lower Tana River are exposed to flooding problems. The community members identified various sources of receiving flood information that is, traditional observation methods, civil society activities and media. There was lack of a common communication network for flood alert information. Households were not organized into community flood management groups to enhance their preparedness. In addition, availability of flood preparedness facilities was a problem. The creation of awareness and developing of preparedness culture against flood disasters are imperative if the community is to reduce vulnerability to the problems of disasters within the society. Needless to say that the awareness and preparedness programmes require a bottom-up approach from grassroots community and top-down from the relevant authorities and stakeholders. As recommendation, preparedness can be enhanced through developing a program on reducing flood risk that targets household heads in the flood prone areas.