Poverty and Disaster Vulnerabilities Among Residents of Hazards-Prone Areas in Gusau Etropolis: A Perception Study
The paper is designed to study the perception of poverty and disaster vulnerabilities among residents of hazards-prone areas in Gusau Metropolis, Northwestern Nigeria. The study area was stratified based on its three main physical layouts; consisting of: The old town; the Government Reserve Area (GRA); and the Suburbs/fringe areas. Thereafter, a reconnaissance survey was conducted to identify the hazard-prone areas, from which 100 respondents were randomly selected and adesigned 3 – point Likert scale questionnaires – “Agree”, “Disagree”, and “Undecided” were administered to them. The results from the Test Statistic reveal that 93% of the residents are low-income earners and most of them do not have stable sources of income. Similarly, the study observes that in most parts of the study area, a greater percentage of the residents suffer inadequate access to basic services (potable water, electricity, sanitation facilities, medical services, etc.). On the ecological challenges in the areas, the respondents lamented that problem such as flooding result in the loss of household utilities and displacement of business areas which consequently predisposes the victims to income/job losses which also adds sour to their poverty. In line with the findings, the paper recommends that an empirical investigation into the environmental situation of those areas and the livelihoods of the residents be carried out to ascertain the authenticity of the respondents’ opinions, which will finally guide the choice of appropriate policies to be designed in improving their living standards.In addition,Gusau Municipal Authorities should regulate the emergence of uncontrolled, scattered low-density urban development, and where already in existence, such sprawl areas should be fully integrated in the development plans.
Key words - Urban Poverty, Disaster Vulnerability, Slum dwellers, Environmental degradation, and Sustainable education