Original Research - Special Collection: Institutional Structures and Processes

Participatory approach to flood disaster management in Thohoyandou

Ndidzulafhi I. Sinthumule, Ntavheleni V. Mudau
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 11, No 3 | a711 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v11i3.711 | © 2019 Ndidzulafhi I. Sinthumule | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 June 2018 | Published: 04 July 2019

About the author(s)

Ndidzulafhi I. Sinthumule, Department of Ecology and Resource Management, School of Environmental Science, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa
Ntavheleni V. Mudau, Department of Geography and Geo-Information Sciences, School of Environmental Science, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa


In recent years, there has been a paradigm shift in research from ‘top-down’ directives to ‘bottom-up’ planning. Thus, there has been a change from imposing strategies to a participatory approach by indigenous people. This study uses the participatory approach to flood disaster management in Thohoyandou and its environs. The aim of this study is twofold: first, to understand the perception of communities towards floods hazards; and second, to probe how communities respond to flood hazards and how this knowledge can be used in the planning and management of future disasters. In order to achieve these objectives, participatory rural appraisal (PRA), interviews and observation were used as data collection techniques. The study found that there was consensus among the participants that flooding is a natural process, but human activities enhance the risks of flooding. Human activities that were found to be the causes of flood included clearance of vegetation, cultivation in steep slope areas, the effect of relief, urbanisation, poor designs and maintenance of drainage system and settlement in inadequate areas. The study found that local communities did not cope when there was flooding. However, they suggested strategies that should be used to cope with future flood hazards.


Participatory Rural Appraisal; Participatory Approach; Disaster Management; Floods; Communities


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