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The role of social capital in post - flood response and recovery among downstream communities of the Ba River, Western Viti Levu, Fiji Islands

Yila, Othniel M. and Weber, Eberhard and Neef, A. (2013) The role of social capital in post - flood response and recovery among downstream communities of the Ba River, Western Viti Levu, Fiji Islands. In: Risks and Conflicts: Local Responses to Natural Disasters. Community Environment and Disaster Risk Management, 14 . Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, UK, pp. 79-107. ISBN 1781908206 9781781908204

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Floods are among the most significant and frequent hazards to affect communities in the downstream part of the Ba River in Western Viti Levu, Fiji Islands. They often leave in their wake displacements and death putting thousands at risk of sliding into poverty. Using the recent 2009 and 2012 floods, we examine how social capital aids in post-disaster response and recovery among residents in five selected villages in the downstream communities of the Ba River. Data were collected from a questionnaire survey administered to 97 households and semi-structured interviews with a further 20 respondents. It is conventionally believed that moving supplies, aid and expertise into flood-affected areas offers the best path to effective response and recovery. By contrast, our results indicate that residents of downstream communities in Ba District are using four approaches to create and deploy social capital among them to facilitate disaster response. The patterns of social capital used for effective response include practices of search and rescue, information, mutual assistance and commercial cooperation. Such strategies help to build resilience at household and community levels and reduce risks of loss of life and costly damage to property. The findings can be used to generate policies concerning the integration of social capital as a component of flood disaster response and recovery mechanisms.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Uncontrolled Keywords: Disaster recovery; flood; social capital; Ba River; Fiji Islands
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Divisions: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) > School of Geography, Earth Science and Environment
Depositing User: Eberhard Weber
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2014 01:52
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2016 04:26

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