By Evaristo H
This study aimed at assessing communities` coping mechanisms to geodisasters in the vicinity of Oldoinyo Lengai in northern Tanzania. It employed the access model to explain the occurrence of disasters as a process in holistic way. The study employed documentary search, in-depth interviews, Focus Group Discussions, observation and measurements and semi structured questionnaire for data capture.
It was found out that the local communities had vast knowledge through which disaster risk and vulnerability were understood and classified. It was noted that the disaster is caused by human malpractice against other human beings or God. There were normal eruptions that acted as manure for pastures and pesticides that saved cattle from pests. Abnormal eruption led to loss of human life, injuries and displacement of people internally, death of livestock and wild animals, destruction of pastures, water bodies, pollution and change of the landscape configuration. The communities learnt the processes of Oldoinyo Lengai ecosystem and foresee the disasters. The knowledge was either obtained from the Olaibons who were able to decode the message from God or tales that have been spread and shared from one generation to the other. The intervention measures by the state that included zoning, cessation of Nayobi and provision of rescue and relief laws and orders were not well coordinated, partial and unsustainable. Generally, the communities` coping mechanisms are insufficient with limited access to resources and power that could reduce community vulnerability. It is therefore recommended that government needs to learn the community technology and develop mutual system of coping by establishing appropriate institutions for mitigation and preparedness.