(Chapter 1.1-1.2 in collaboration with Annett Steinführer, Christian Kuhlicke, Bruna De Marchi, Anna Scolobig)
S.Tunstall and S.Tapsell
The work described in this publication was supported by the European Community’s Sixth Framework Programme through the grant to the budget of the Integrated Project FLOODsite, Contract GOCE-CT-2004-505420.
The authors would also like to thank the many participants who took part in the various surveys reported here and staff at the Environment Agency and Defra for their assistance.
Disclaimer This document reflects only the authors’ views and not those of the European Community. This work may rely on data from sources external to the FLOODsite project Consortium. Members of the Consortium do not accept liability for loss or damage suffered by any third party as a result of errors or inaccuracies in such data. The information in this document is provided “as is” and no guarantee or warranty is given that the information is fit for any particular purpose. The user thereof uses the information at its sole risk and neither the European Community nor any member of the FLOODsiteConsortium is liable for any use that may be made of the information.
Summary The focus of FHRC for this study has been on re-analysing, or further secondary analysis of, data from some of our earlier studies, rather than collecting new survey data. The three existing recent data sets collected between 2002 and 2005 which have been reanalysed to address the aims and objectives of this task, are the:
‘Intangibles’ data set of both flooded and ‘at risk’ samples
‘Warnings’ data set of flooded sample
‘Lower Thames‘ data set of flooded sample.
The first two UK data sets listed cover a range of locations (up to 30) and many different flood events in England and Wales. However, the third data set was focused on a particular location along the River Thames and a single key flood event. The data offered in the data sets are thus very different from the case study data of our German and Italian partners, as they were originally collected and analysed for other purposes. The major objectives of FLOODsite Task 11 that this research aimed to address were:
to characterise types of communities with regard to their preparedness, vulnerability and resilience related to flood events;
to understand the driving forces of human behaviour before, during, and after floods;
to learn lessons from case studies in Germany, Italy and the U.K.
However, the FHRC studies focused on individuals and households rather than upon communities. Moreover, there is very little data on flood risk constructions across the three surveys. The main independent variables used in the analysis for this report are the most appropriate available from the earlier studies which address the aims of Task 11 with a view to providing some comparisons with the German and Italian data.
The population samples studied differed in terms of characteristics such as gender, age, social grade and income, tenure, flood experience and awareness, length of residence, and other demographic and social factors. They also differed in terms of the characteristics of the flood events and levels of impacts experienced. These differences were in turn seen to influence preparedness for living with flood risk and responding to flood events, and individual and household vulnerability and resilience related to flooding.
A number of driving forces of human behaviour were identified before, during and after flooding which were seen to affect people’s levels of preparedness, vulnerability and resilience related to flood events. For example, flood awareness and preparedness actions before and during flooding were seen to be affected by the extent and frequency of previous flood experience; river bank location, tenure arrangements and length of residence in the area; and the receipt of flood warnings. Taking out insurance was a common form of pre-flood preparedness measure taken by residents in the flood affected areas which was seen to be influenced by personal characteristics such as age, gender, tenure, social grade and income, illness and disability. Another common measure taken to prepare for flooding was to move valuables, personal property and cars to safety. Households containing children aged under 10 gave this measure specific priority.
Overall, the data help us to further understand the impacts of flooding and the factors influencing human behaviour before, during and after the flood events. They also allow lessons to be learned (albeit in the context of specific populations and locations) on how individuals and households may be able to increase their resilience to flood impacts and capacity to recover. The results will be of use to other people living in flood risk areas and to those agencies with a responsibility to respond to flooding in order to improve pre-flood preparedness and post-flood recovery.