COMMUNICATION IN NATURAL DISASTER MANAGEMENT: A STUDY OF 2005 FLOOD RISK AWARENESS CAMPAIGN AMONG THE RESIDENTS OF JALINGO METROPOLIS

COMMUNICATION IN NATURAL DISASTER MANAGEMENT: A STUDY OF 2005 FLOOD RISK AWARENESS CAMPAIGN AMONG THE RESIDENTS OF JALINGO METROPOLIS

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Abstract

This study examined the communication channels employed by Taraba State

Government before, during and after 2005 flood disaster in Jalingo metropolis. The

major communication strategies used were identified and their effectiveness evaluated

on the affected communities. The study was premised on risk communication theory

and survey, in-depth-interview and Focus Group Discussion methods were employed to

obtain the data. The Findings show that Radio, television, newspapers and magazines

were the major channels of communication used by Taraba State Government. Among

these communication channels Radio was found to be the major channel of

communication through which quick campaign warning messages were sent to the

people at risk. Likewise, the study found that communication strategies used by Taraba

State Government before, during and after flood disaster on risk campaign awareness

are advocacy visit to the flooded communities and door-to-door strategies. Against this

background door-to-door communication is considered a very good medium for

communicating disaster information in the studied area. Finally the study recommends

that the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) be more effectively funded and

equipped with state of the arts equipment’s to meet national/international disaster

response standards, so that it can more effectively respond to the ever changing

challenges on natural disaster management.

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background to the study

Nigeria like most other countries of the world is faced with increasing threat of

natural disasters from flooding epidemic. In the last three decades, the impact of

flooding have increasingly assumed from significant to threating proportion.

Resulting in loss of lives, collapse of buildings/bridges destroyed farmlands, causing

water shortages, affecting human health among other. The case is similar in Taraba

state, the 2005 flood disaster have serious social and economic impacts on the

community. Flood disaster affects people’s lives and livelihoods in many ways;

according to Bantaje (2005) about one hundred (100) people were feared dead

during the flood, particularly during the collapse of the Nukkai Bridge.

While Taraba Television (TTV) reported that property worth millions of Naira were

destroy in the August 7th, 2005 flood, farmlands running into thousands hectares of

land were destroyed. It was also reported that the rainfall drowned several people

that were on the bridge when the bridge was submerged by the flood. About twenty

six (26) bodies were recovered which includes the body of an Assistant

Commissioner of Police who died in the case of persuading victims to vacate the

bridge. Although Jalingo town is exposed to flood every year but 2005 and 2011 is

more severe; flood occurrence is always associated with topography of the area

which is an undulating plain interrupted in place by low rising hills and traversed by

two different rivers as well as the poor/inadequate drainage network within the

town. This has been a source of worry and challenge to the government at various

levels. Ochongor and Konye in Tsegyu (2015) report on the impact of

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communication plays as a major role in the enlightenment and education of the

populace about the menace of disaster either to accept or reject any government

initiative or programme. As such Mass Media no doubt, is the fulcrum on which

awareness campaign on the menace of natural disaster (flood) is disseminated to the

target audience. At all times, members of the public need to be aware of the realities

of their environment and what happens within the environment attaining this desire

is the whole essence of public enlightenment. Communication is the means by

which the public are linked to the updates in the society. For this to be successfully

achieved the citizenry should be kept abreast of the goings-on in the society. One of

the ways of achieving this is through public enlightenment. Public enlightenment

enables the public to know their right, obligations and duties among other things.

For public enlightenment to be effective, the source must address the issues through

appropriate content, message structure and effective delivery.

1.2       Statement of Research Problem

Natural disasters come without warning and they cause widespread devastation like

economic damage and loss of thousands of human lives globally. For instance in Jalingo

metropolis, the 2005 flood disaster has caused extensive socio-economic dislocation

with catastrophic consequences ranging from loss of lives and destruction of human

habitation, Agricultural produce, water resources, terrestrial ecosystem, and biodiversity

and affecting human health among others. Nevertheless, a study conducted in Jalingo


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