Building resilience of local community through risk management.
Location: Limbe, Southwest of Cameroon, Central Africa
Challenge/problem address: Mass wasting /Landslide risk
The coastal city of Limbe, has an approximate population of 120,000 people located on the SW flank of Mt. Cameroon. High quest for land and poverty result in people cutting the slopes off and building on unconsolidated pyroclastic cones that are prone to landslides.
Assisting local communities in Building Resilience to Landslide risk through ecosystem base approach. At the onset of the work, a lot more focus was on a deeper understanding of the community predicaments link to the occurrence of landslide in the community. A phenomenon we learnt results from the unconsolidated pyroclastic materials of ancient mount Cameroon eruption which are relatively exposed and run downslope during the raining season of the year. However the human component that contribute to this occasional mass wasting has been the focus of this case study.
Specifically the objective had been;
1. Understanding the underlying causes of the landslide in the community
- Understanding local community coping strategies
- Proposing new strategies to deal with the unpleasant situation.
The community members had explored several approaches to mitigate landslide occurrence in the community through the building of embankments with old-motor tyres, with a few members capable of affording concrete embankment. GEADIRR introduced the planting of trees as potential approach to holding soils from slipping. This approach is helping the prevention of soil movement and we are continuing work with the community in this direction.
This will likely have longer positive impact into the future. GEADIRR has also been involved in the sensitization of the local community through organization of regular focus group that reflects with members of the community. We realized that based on the societal structure, women will not speak-up freely in the presence of men and they need to have separate group meetings. In some cases the women have limited land property rights and will not talk about issues link to landed properties and effective protection of homes from landslide.
One sustainable impact of the project has been that of changing the mind sets through sensitizations. The inhabitants of this community are aware of the hazards and they now try to avoid activities that trigger a landslide. Some clear lessons passed on to the local community had been how to avoid cutting the slopes of the hills and the need to regularly plant deep rooted trees to hold soils from slipping.