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Adaptation to flooding in the Resistencia city region, Argentina: Planning and its impact upon the poor

Whittingham, Neil (2019) Adaptation to flooding in the Resistencia city region, Argentina: Planning and its impact upon the poor, Thesis (Doctoral), Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.

N Whittingham - Final Thesis Submission.pdf - Accepted Version

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Given the complexities involved in the flooding of city regions and the threats of Climate Change, development policymakers and practitioners need to identify factors that have a bearing on coping and adaptation to flood-prone environments and understand the opinions and behaviours of societies and stakeholders at the local level. In doing so, more responsive and socially and environmentally just adaptation processes and measures can be fashioned in line with the targets of the UN Sendai Framework. To gain further insight into the experience of flooding for a city region from both ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ perspectives, a qualitative methodology of semi-structured interviews was used in this study to unearth perspectives on flooding of professionals and politicians and poor flood victims who have experience of it in the Resistencia city region in Chaco province, Argentina. Responses were presented using the framework suggested in the work of Wamsler and Brink (2015), i.e. based upon whether they related to: i) Reduction and avoidance of flooding hazards; ii) Reduction of vulnerability to flooding; iii) Preparedness for responding to flooding; iv) Preparedness for recovering from flooding. The data revealed a striking difference in perspectives on flooding between ‘top-down’ of authorities and the ‘bottom-up’ perspectives of poor flood victims. Intense rainfall continues to be a major contributory factor to ongoing flooding in the area though a ‘blame culture’ exists whereby city authority representatives often see poor flood victims as playing a significant role in their own suffering, whilst many poor flood victims considered there to be an urgent need to reduce vulnerability and had considerable disappointment with the role being played by what they perceived to be disorganised and corrupt government. It was clear that insightful poor flood victims wished to be more involved in formal planning for the area, however political processes in the Resistencia city region lacked transparency and there was a tendency for the poor to feel there was little choice other than responding themselves to the risky circumstances they faced. The study revealed a clear wish for better balance between pre- and post-flooding adaptation measures including better maintenance of drainage systems and a wish for a more transformational culture that fosters sustainable development with broader consciousness with regard to disaster risk reduction, a more pro-poor focus and better coordination/co-operation amongst different sectors, with formal political processes for adaptation that are more transparent and participatory. The study provides support to the growing body of literature that asserts that, as well as engaging with the technical challenges of flood risk, those working in development need to appreciate socio-political context, and how it determines how benefits and costs of adaptation are distributed, so that the adaptive capacity and resilience of the vulnerable poor can be bolstered.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: WA Public Health > WA 30 Socioeconomic factors in public health (General)
WA Public Health > Sanitation. Environmental Control > General Sanitation and Environmental Control > WA 670 General works
WA Public Health > Water > WA 675 Water. Water supply. Sources
WD Disorders of Systemic, Metabolic or Environmental Origin, etc > Disorders and Injuries of Environmental Origin > WD 600 General works
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > Clinical Sciences Department
Depositing User: Lynn Roberts-Maloney
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2019 11:37
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2020 02:02


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