Indigenous Knowledge in Disaster Risk Reduction
The Tales of Three Islands (San Miguel, Camotes and Alabat) in the Philippines
AbstractThe importance of indigenous knowledge in reducing risk from disasters and natural calamities has been widely discussed in the social sciences by scholars arguing for integrative frameworks and participatory processes. This type of knowledge is vital for archipelagic developing countries, such as the Philippines, situated in a geographical area exposed to natural hazards. However, despite its potential contribution to disaster prevention, mitigation, response, rehabilitation and recovery, along with possible combination strategies with western scientific knowledge towards reducing vulnerability and disaster risk management, the literature on the integration of specific communities' indigenous knowledgebased disaster preparedness and adaptation is still limited. The novel contribution of this article is in the discussion of the unique indigenous knowledgeidentified in the cases of San Miguel Island, Camotes Island and Alabat Island, which is utilized even up to the present. Particularly, this study identifies substantial aspects of indigenous knowledge that contribute to disaster risk reduction in the three selected cases. Findings reveal myriad indigenous knowledge pertaining to intensity, height, direction and movement of ocean waves; intensity of winds; sudden surfacing of deep-sea creatures and unease of animals; different patterns of clouds, darkening of skies and foggy horizons, among others. In closely examining indigenous knowledge, this study sheds new light by providing meaningful insights for its contribution to disaster preparedness.
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