Disaster resilience in a flood-impacted rural Australian town

Boon, Helen J. (2014) Disaster resilience in a flood-impacted rural Australian town. Natural Hazards, 71 (1). pp. 683-701.

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Abstract

This paper reports exploratory research conducted in a flood-impacted rural Australian town to identify the factors which residents perceived as supporting community resilience to disaster. There is a gap in this research area centred in the Australian disaster context. Since Australia is predicted to be highly impacted by the effects of climate change in the form of an increased incidence of flooding, an urgent need exists to examine the factors that confer resilience to disaster-impacted localities to inform suitable disaster mitigation and adaptation policies for the future. Because of the complexity of community resilience and its interrelationship with individual resilience, a multi-method approach was used: a demographic study to assess community stability and functioning before and after the flood disaster, focus group interviews to obtain from community members their views on what supported them and their community resilience and a survey to generalise the interview findings. Our operating hypothesis was that individuals remaining in the town post-flood were likely to be resilient to the flood disaster. The demographic study results pointed to a resilient community after the floods as they reflected stability in population numbers and socio-economic indicators. The interviews and survey showed that individual resilience was promoted by social connectedness and a sense of place, a factor that was also negatively linked to the desire to relocate from the community. The use of structural equation modelling of our results provided verification of prior research findings about the role of sense of place in supporting individuals' resilience. Results are discussed in the context of future climate change adaptation policy.

Item ID: 30931
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: resilience, disaster, community, climate change
ISSN: 1573-0840
Funders: Australian Government Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF)
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2014 01:12
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170113 Social and Community Psychology @ 60%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1604 Human Geography > 160403 Social and Cultural Geography @ 40%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960311 Social Impacts of Climate Change and Variability @ 25%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9610 Natural Hazards > 961010 Natural Hazards in Urban and Industrial Environments @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 25%
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