Perception of, and adjustment to, drought hazard by farmers in southern SRI Lanka
In Sri Lanka, two thirds of the land mass lies within the Dry Zone where agriculture is the most important economic activity. In this climatic zone, rainfall is highly uncertain, seasonal, and limited to a few months. Consequently, the farmers in the area have to face drought as a natural hazard. This study focusses on how the farmers in the southern Dry Zone of Sri Lanka perceive drought as a hazard, the adjustments they make to reduce their vulnerability to droughts and how human behaviour affects the growing hazardousness of the study area. The results of this study show that the farmers in the study area have perceived drought as one of their major problems, and that the vulnerability to this natural phenomenon is growing as a result of the power abuse and environmental mismanagement of those high ranking people responsible. However, the farmers’ deeper understanding regarding their living environment (natural and man-made) has enhanced their power to combat the hazardous effects of droughts by way of a variety of adjustments. Considering and studying the above problems and issues the researcher has come to some conclusions and has put forward some suggestions, the most important of which, lie with changing the self-centered attitudes and activities of the powerful people in the direction of a socially and environmentally more sustainable and wholesome path.