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A method for assessing community flood management knowledge for vulnerable groups: Australia's 2010–2011 floods

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 18:35 authored by Bell, E, Blashki, G
Relatively little is known about managing responses to the rising number of extreme weather events for socially disadvantaged groups. This study aimed to discover internationally relevant lessons from the Australian floods of 2010–2011 about managing extreme floods for specific vulnerable groups. In particular, it aimed to examine Queensland community stakeholder accounts of flood management to identify the strengths and weaknesses of community knowledge about flood management for these vulnerable groups. A two-stage ‘critical computational linguistics’ analysis was conducted of 753 community submissions to the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry: (i) content scoping and quantification using linguistics software and (ii) traditional critical discourse analysis. This produced sixty-five concepts characterizing the community submissions collectively. Concepts associated with the selected vulnerable groups were found to occur least frequently. The discourses of risk, warning, evacuation and recovery dominate language referring to vulnerable groups in the texts analysed. Other discourses about preventative needs assessment and impact assessment for these disadvantaged groups were little present or absent. The study also found knowledge was stratified by social groups with undesirable shortcomings in the knowledge indicated by critical flood management stakeholders such as parliamentary representatives and local disaster management groups. We conclude that community flood management knowledge about vulnerable groups is marginal, especially outside immediate response management. Internationally, these are sobering findings from a developed nation with a long history of managing extreme weather events. Our method can help pinpoint areas of knowledge weakness and assist community authorities to better question and support community stakeholder responses to such extreme events.


Publication title

Community Development Journal








School of Health Sciences


Oxford University Press

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

Copyright 2013 Oxford University Press

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Health policy evaluation

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