Community Perception Towards a Set Back Area : A Case Study in Galle District, Sri Lanka Public Deposited

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  • In view of the coastal areas, vulnerability to natural hazards particularly tsunami, earthquakes, etc, are rather increasing. The tsunami, giant tidal waves struck on 26th of December 2004 caused severe damage to people and their livelihood. It is now felt that the country should enforce a regulation procedure to manage the coastal zone. This addresses the concept of a set back area in order to mitigate the severity of natural disasters. But, the promulgation of set back area should be account for community perception. Hence, this study was aimed to assess the community perception, possible constraints, and to extract criteria to demarcate a set back area in the littoral. The study was carried out in Galle district, in Southern Sri Lanka, which is one of the districts greatly affected by the tsunami. Three divisional secretariat (DS) divisions viz; Habaraduwa, Hikkaduwa and Galle were selected. Simple random sampling was used to select 120 households. Primary data were gleaned using a pre-tested questionnaire. Informal discussions were held with coastal dwellers, government officers, &etc. The data were analyzed and evaluated to assess the objectives. Accordingly, 54 percent of the community is involved in activities based on fisheries and tourism. The rest 46 percent are engaged in other activities, which are non-stationed in the coastal zone. More than 80 percent households of the area are vulnerable for natural disasters. In consequence, 66 percent were fully damaged and 34 percent were partially damaged. Totally 76 percent of the villagers are willing to have a set back area. But, only 48 percent from 100 m boundary, agreed to have a buffer zone and majority (52%) did not want to leave the place. The reason is that their livelihood activities are adhered to the shore. Further, the buffer zone would reduce the land use efficiency since, it requires 0.25 percent land area. Hence, it is advisable to maintain a buffer zone with a green belt, which is most effective to abate the sea waves. The demarcation of a set back area should consider the geomorphology, natural vegetation cover, &etc. Moreover, government incentives, concessionary loans, permits &etc are tools to promote settlements in inland. Since, the community is in uncertainty and unsecured, willing to have more secured land strip as a buffer zone. Ipso facto, a set back area is a community-blessed concept to mitigate dreadful natural destructions and also to assure the sustainability of the area.
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  • Koralagama, Dilanthi. 2008. Community Perception Towards a Set Back Area : A Case Study in Galle District, Sri Lanka. 11 pages. In: Proceedings of the Fourteenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics & Trade, July 22-25, 2008, Nha Trang, Vietnam: Achieving a Sustainable Future: Managing Aquaculture, Fishing, Trade and Development. Compiled by Ann L. Shriver. International Institute of Fisheries Economics & Trade, Corvallis, Oregon, USA, 2008.
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