Sundarban is the largest active delta in the world lying at the estuaries of the Rivers Ganga and Brahmaputra. This region is rich in biodiversity and declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This delta region is prone to severe natural disasters as well as man-induced catastrophic events. Gosaba Block which is identified as the study area located in Indian part of the Sundarban delta, in South Twenty Four Parganas district of West Bengal puts forward an ideal portrait for people’s struggle and survival strategies against natural disasters. An attempt has been made in this chapter to study the perception of the main occupational groups on the effects of major natural disasters viz. floods, tidal surges and cyclones in Gosaba Block. An endeavor has also been made to explore local survival strategies which are effective for their sustenance in this vulnerable region. Three-hundred persons from different occupational groups, that is, people engaged in agriculture, fishing, crab collection, tiger prawn seed collection, wood collection and honey collection have been surveyed through a pre-designed questionnaire. Six Focus Group Discussions have been conducted, in which each of the groups comprised six members from a particular occupation. The study has revealed that all the occupational groups perceive threats differently from natural disasters and their perceptions vary according to their levels of exposure to the environment. To cope with the natural disasters, each occupational group has devised distinct survival strategies. For proper management of natural disasters in Sundarban delta region, the perception of people with different livelihoods and their survival strategies should be incorporated.
The author would like to acknowledge the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India, for providing financial assistance from DST PURSE Programme, University of Kalyani in carrying out this research.
Mondal, T. (2014), "People’s Perception on Natural Disasters and Local Survival Strategies in Sundarban Region: A Study of Gosaba Block in South Twenty Four Parganas District in West Bengal, India", Risks and Conflicts: Local Responses to Natural Disasters (Community, Environment and Disaster Risk Management, Vol. 14), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 165-184. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2040-7262(2013)0000014013Download as .RIS
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