BACKGROUND OF STUDY
The study surrounds the assessment of the existence and scope of the legal framework governing disaster management in Kenya. The UN defines a disaster as “an event or series of events which give rise to casualties and/or damage or loss of property, infrastructure, essential services, or means of livelihood on a scale that is beyond the normal capacity of the affected communities to cope with unaided”.1 According to the Draft Policy National Policy (hereinafter referred to as the Draft Policy), Kenya is prone to the following categories of hazards: 2
1.Environmentally triggered (Climate-related such as droughts, floods, storms landslides)
2. Geologic disasters includes volcanic eruptions, Tsunamis, earthquakes,
3. Human-made disasters such as socio- economic, technologic-industrial, human
4. Biological epidemics i.e. disease, pests
Disaster management on the other hand has been described as involving the prevention of disasters, preparedness, relief and recovery in the event disasters occur and will be the focus of this paper.3
This paper seeks to assess the effectiveness of the presence or absence of legislative framework on disaster management. This recognition of the threat level Kenya is exposed to by the Draft Policy necessitates the promulgation of robust legislation that will effectively protect Kenya’s citizenry.
The study also seeks to measure the efficiency of legislation vis-a-vis soft law in the name of policies. Although there is no consensus on the parameters of the definition of soft law, many scholars have been seen to use the binding/non-binding test to categorize laws as hard or soft law.4 It is therefore a safe assumption to place the Draft Policy in question under the soft law category.
1 United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction Terminology on DRR https://www.unisdr.org/we/inform/terminology/ on August 20th 2017
2 Draft National Policy on Disaster Management in Kenya, February 2009.
3 International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Disaster and Crisis Management, http://www.ifrc.org/en/what-we-do/disaster-management/ on August 20th 2017.
4 Commitment And Compliance: The Role Of Non-Binding Norms In The International Legal System (Dinah Shelton Ed., 2000)