Community vulnerability and resilience in disaster risk reduction: an example from Phojal Nalla, Himachal Pradesh, India.

Johnson, R.M, Edwards, E, Gardner, J.S and Diduck, A.P (2018) 'Community vulnerability and resilience in disaster risk reduction: an example from Phojal Nalla, Himachal Pradesh, India.' Regional Environmental Change, 18 (7). pp. 2073-2087. ISSN 1436-3798

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10113-018-1326-6

Abstract

International Disaster Risk Reduction Frameworks and Indian Plans advocate shared responsibility for reducing disaster risk, in which community vulnerability and resilience conditions are central. This paper presents a case study from the Indian Himalaya (Kullu District) of community vulnerability and resilience conditions following damaging floods, primarily the 1994 Phojal Nalla flood, through the concepts of community heritage and capital. Data were collected in the period 2013-2016, using semi-structured interviews (n= 129), village reconnaissance and archival/contemporary data searches. The connections between heritage, capital, vulnerability and resilience are complex, but results demonstrate ‘knowledge’ is the principal driver of resilience conditions, via facets of heritage (e.g. religious infrastructure and activities, traditional architectural vernacular, and multi-generational attachments to place) and capital (e.g. income diversification, access to communication technologies, societal welfare measures and positive interactions with water). Persisting vulnerabilities stem from differential access to and implementation of best practice knowledge, governed by social, economic and political conditions. Further improvements in risk reduction require greater consideration of: (1) the integration of community local knowledge into the overall disaster management process; (2) the opportunities offered by mobile phone and other technologies for generating and sharing knowledge across society; (3) the value of under-utilised knowledge of past disaster events, assembled from a systematic evaluation of oral, documentary and landscape evidence, to risk reduction.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: heritage; capital; vulnerability and resilience; disaster risk reduction; flood hazard; Indian Himalaya
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2018 09:45
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2018 09:25
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