Invisible Resilience: Indigenous Knowledge Systems of Earthquake Disaster Management in Kagera Region, Tanzania

In: Utafiti
Herbert Hambati Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography, College of Social Sciences, University of Dar es Salaam Dar es Salaam Tanzania

Search for other papers by Herbert Hambati in
Current site
Google Scholar
View More View Less
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):



Indigenous environmental disaster management systems are maintained in remotely located communities through intergenerational transmission. This fieldwork illuminates a wealth of unprecedented survival techniques, strategies and skills for offsetting the worst effects of a natural disaster in earthquake-prone areas of north-west Tanzania. Normally, responses from the government and its foreign development partners are hamstrung by bureaucratic red tape, taking too long in reaching disaster victims to be of any actual help. The formal mechanisms of global assistance constitute disaster management failure by design. Rather, it is the local experts who sustain human lives in the weeks and months before external aid comes to the rescue. Yet local communities’ contributions to their own survival remain invisible to central government and the global arena. Traditional means of forecasting environmental catastrophes and of providing essential assistance in the aftermath of natural disasters are reflections of cultural values, socio-economic sophistication and scientific expertise within communities whose resilience needs to be recognized, assisted and promoted. Educational curricula of the future, involving a new generation of academicians, should integrate this crucial indigenous knowledge into the nation’s mainstream disaster management framework.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 367 154 9
Full Text Views 11 7 4
PDF Views & Downloads 15 8 8