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Community perception and response to drought risks in the Hambantota district in Sri Lanka


PH Amaraweera, Jayanthi De Silva and SKM Ali


The drought has been identified as the most frequent natural disaster in Sri Lanka. The effects of a drought can last for a long period of time resulting in various environmental and socio-economic losses. The current study aims to explore how the community perceive drought in Hambantota district which is one of the main drought-prone districts in Sri Lanka. It also examines in what ways the affected people respond to a drought incident. The study adopted a mixed methodology incorporating both quantitative and qualitative methods. First, the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) was computed using rainfall data of seventeen meteorological stations covering Hambantota district for the period from 1961 to 2015. The results indicate a higher drought intensity within several areas of the district. Based on the higher intensity, Lunugamvehera Divisional Secretariat Division was selected as the study area for the community survey to examine perception and response to drought. The community survey was conducted with a sample of 160 households which were selected using simple random sampling technique. An interviewer-administered questionnaire survey was conducted to collect data from the selected respondents. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics. Respondents have reported that they were affected by annual drought incidences while experiencing a severe drought once in every five years. The duration of an annual drought extended at least 5 months (from May to September) and severe drought extended 10 to 12 months (May to March). Therefore, the vast majority of affected people were perceived to be living in a drought risk area. 76.3 percent of respondents facing annual drought and 80.0 percent of respondents facing severe drought have perceived that the frequency of droughts has increased over time.

Keywords: adaptation, community perception, drought risk, response

General Information

ISSN: 2279-3933
Frequency: Quartely
Editor-in-Chief: Dr. Upali Pannilage
Executive Editor: Mr. Renuka Priyantha                               Dr. HIGC Kumara

                              Mr. KH Ramanayaka

                              Mr. IDKL Fernando

Abstracting/ Indexing: Google Scholar
E-mail: ejournalhss2018@gmail.com