We ought to enhance community resilience to natural disaster

18Jan 2019
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
We ought to enhance community resilience to natural disaster

Bismarck Rocks are a geological balancing rock formation, probably left by eons of wind and wave erosion. The Bismarck rock is a precariously balanced rock that is located in Lake Victoria and the city of Mwanza. It is also a point where a statue of the late German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck-

was said to be erected, thus taking his name. The statue was later on pulled down into the water nearby, when the British took over from the Germans after world war one - but the name stuck. Since then, the rock has become a famous icon of the city, featuring in many photos for both locals and tourists.

The Bismarck rock sits above water and on a set of larger rocks in a collective formation that rises more than 10 metres above the lake's surface. The surrounding areas are also quite attractive, with a few restaurants nearby, a well maintained small public park with green lawn and a ferry harbour to the other side of Mwanza gulf.

The impacts of natural disasters on communities living in hazard prone areas are wide ranging and complex. In Mwanza, for example, steep slopes, rocky hills and river valleys are inhabited by people. These areas are prone to natural disasters. Mwanza popularly called the city of rocks is located on the southern shores of Lake Victoria. The second largest fresh water lake in the world and home to the largest tribe in the country.  Lake Victoria is one of the highlights of Mwanza. Its dark bluish waters give it a mysterious feeling and you are left in awe by its sheer size and beauty.

The obvious reason for this nickname becomes clear the moment you step off the plane: massive boulders everywhere. The landscape in and around town is quite rugged and uneven. Lots of kopjes can also be seen.

The most interesting thing about Mwanza is the architecture. People have mastered the art of building their homes in the most rocky and steep areas.

A rockfall or rock-fall refers to quantities of rock falling freely from a cliff face. The term is also used for collapse of rock from roof or walls of mine or quarry workings. A rockfall is a fragment of rock (a block) detached by sliding, toppling, or falling, that falls along a vertical or sub-vertical cliff, proceeds down slope by bouncing and flying along ballistic trajectories or by rolling on talus or debris slopes.  Alternatively, a "rockfall is the natural downward motion of a detached block or series of blocks with a small volume involving free falling, bouncing, rolling, and sliding". The mode of failure differs from that of a rockslide.

Typically, rockfall events are mitigated in one of two ways: either by passive mitigation or active mitigation. Passive mitigation is where only the effects of the rockfall event are mitigated and are generally employed in the deposition or run-out zones, such as through the use of drape nets, rockfall catchment fences, diversion dams, etc. The rockfall still takes in many countries.

Bismarck rocks is a major feature off the Mwanza shoreline. Mwanza is popularly called Rock City by its impressive rock formations. Avalanch is a mass of snow, ice, and rocks falling rapidly down a mountainside or a sudden arrival or occurrence of something in overwhelming quantities.

By their very nature, avalanches represent a major danger only in mountainous areas of the earth and in the valleys inhabited by people. The damaging effects of avalanches may be widespread or limited, depending on the factors which provoked them.