Disaster risk problem framing: insights from societal perceptions in Zimbabwe
Van Niekerk, Dewald
Van der Waldt, Gerrit
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As disasters are on the rise with devastating consequences, understanding the dynamics of disaster risk problem framing is crucial because the way in which a problem is framed circumscribes the search for solutions to that problem. This article sought to critically explore societal perceptions of disaster risk problems in Zimbabwe in order to give them meaning and render them manageable. This study is based on both secondary and primary data collected from disaster risk practitioners and local respondents from a number of districts in Zimbabwe. The results of the study suggest that the Zimbabwe disaster risk management system is dominated by the hazard frame and rival frames such as vulnerability and theistic frames are silenced. The silenced frames (vulnerability and theistic) were found to be crucial in understanding the social construction of disaster risk. The article argues that the locus of disaster risk problem is not to be found primarily in governmental agencies; rather, it is to be found in the communities where risk is generated and experienced. The article concludes that disaster risk problems should not be viewed as unitary and state centred, but as diverse and multi-centred. As such, practitioners should aim for a networked model of engagement where various stakeholders in the society are drawn together to form networks that can debate about disaster risk problems and formulate action plans.
- Faculty of Humanities