FLOOD DISASTER VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT OF PHYSICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS IN RAMOTSWA AND TAUNG VILLAGES, BOTSWANA.
The paper explores the spatial and physical factors that increase communities’ vulnerability to flood disasters using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The paper is derived from a 2013-2015 study which carried out a vulnerability assessment of factors that contribute to flood disasters in Ramotswa and Taung villages in the South East District of Botswana. The study adopted Turner et al (2003) vulnerability framework which uses exposure, sensitivity, and resilience as part of the vulnerability model. The study provided baseline information that could be used to explore and implement new measures to reduce vulnerability and the severity of the effects of floods on urban and peri-urban settlements. Planning interventions that could be undertaken in urban and peri-urban villages to reduce community vulnerability to flood disasters were also highlighted in the study. Botswana, an active member of the United Nations (UN), is committed to sustainable human settlements planning and development. However, the country is faced with constraints; such as inadequate financial, technical and human resources to enable sustainable human settlements’ planning and development. One of the adversely affected areas is land use planning which reduces the vulnerability of settlements and communities against flood disasters. Globally there has been a long standing recognition within the UN system of the importance of sustainable human settlements in global environmental change. For instance, in 1975 the UN established the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements. In 1992 Agenda 21 was released by the UN to address human settlements issues which included sustainable land use planning and management of disaster-prone areas. More recently, in 2015 the UN adopted seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2016-2030. One of these is SDG 11, which aims to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” This paper contributes to the debate of issues in sustainable human settlements in Botswana.