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Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development Forum

Perception of disasters.

Posted By: Gillian Cambers
Date: Sunday, 6 June 1999, at 11:00 p.m.

In Response To: Cross sectoral approaches to integrated coastal management / Alang and Bhavnagar Bhal-India. (R. Sudarshana)

Re your point concerning the intersectoral nature of coastal management, I believe the consensus of the December workshop in Paris on wp's was that ICM and wp's have to be cross-sectoral. So we are in agreement.

I was intrigued by your example describing THE RUMOURS AT THE ALANG SHIP BREAKING YARD, which brings out some interesting aspects of information transfer and perception. I wondered whether from this event you were planning to develop a wise practice? Some questions:

1. MISCHIEVOUS RUMOUR: I noted that you stated it was a mischievous rumour. Was it started on purpose ? Did it based on attempts to foretell the future ? based on attempts to foretell the future ?

2. SATELLITE DATA RELAY: I am wondering if your suggested street-side satellite weather data relay would mean anything to the workers and whether they would believe it ? Perhaps another approach could be daily weather updates, not only from the national weather service, but from village elders knowledgeable about such matters.

3. TRADITIONAL FOLKLORE: I have noticed that people often compartmentalize in their minds traditional folklore and modern science/technology. For instance an islander who is up-to-date with Internet predictions for hurricanes may be the same person who believes that because he saw a certain shaped cloud in the sky, a turtle will nest on a particular beach that night.

4. IN ACTUALITY: A WISE PRACTICE: Another way of looking at this example is that if the workers truly believed the rumour, they were evacuating an unsafe area - a wise practice indeed!

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