Journal of Environmental and Public Health / 2013 / Article / Tab 1

Research Article

Traditional Coping Strategies and Disaster Response: Examples from the South Pacific Region

Table 1

Summary of traditional coping strategies to disasters and climate changes.

Key areasSummary of traditional knowledge and coping strategies for response to disasters and climate change in Pacific Island Countries

Recognition of traditional coping strategies(i) Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s (SPC) list of crops from the climate ready collection.
(ii) Glossaries of traditional climate change terms in some Pacific countries.
(iii) Pacific Red Cross societies Toolkit to assess natural disasters vulnerability and response capacity.

Faith and Religious beliefs(i) Faith-based systems and their interventions are entrenched in the social system and can build resilience.
(ii) Recognition of churches, their role in community life, including use as emergency centres or disaster shelters; provision of postdisaster counselling.
(iii) Churches may be a source of resources, volunteers, welfare programs for the poor, and needy including non-members.

Traditional governance and leadership (i) Indication of some integration of political and traditional governance systems for disaster management.
(ii) Active involvement of traditional governance structures in village life, disaster management, and climate change adaptation.
(iii) Use of traditional leadership networks to share information and communicate in times of disasters.
(iv) Involvement of schools, churches, and the community in disaster preparedness and response.

Family and Community Involvement(i) Extended family system and kinship ties provide a critical support structures in times of disaster.
(ii) Movement of families from high risk areas to less vulnerable areas inland during disasters.
(iii) Fostering of relationships improves coordination of response teams and helps develop good coping skills.

Agriculture and food security(i) Traditional agricultural disaster-preparation techniques to preserve seedlings and seeds.
(ii) Documenting food preservation techniques and consideration of inclusion in school curricula.
(iii) Integrated farming system approach that incorporates the planting of fruit trees with root crops.
(iv) Introducing less common foods and reintroducing some forgotten foods from traditional diets.
(v) Using organic agricultural practices- pesticide free and no chemicals.