Meeting Challenge of Preparing for Next Time Floods Hit Our Communities

By Currie, Dr Margaret | The Scotsman, February 8, 2017 | Go to article overview

Meeting Challenge of Preparing for Next Time Floods Hit Our Communities


Currie, Dr Margaret, The Scotsman


Several communities in Scotland were hit hard by flooding during the storms of December 2015 and January 2016 and are still facing challenges during the recovery process. The concept of "social-ecological resilience" refers to the abilityof a community to withstand such environmental shocks. A community is resilient if it can successfully adapt to such a shock- and people play a vital role in the process. Their experiences will provide valuable lessons for others in building resilience thatwill help them deal with any future events.

The notion of"resilience" is not just an academic concept; it is of increasing importance in public policy. The Scottish Governmenthas 16 National Outcomes thatdemonstrate its longterm priorities. One of these is "we have strong, resilient and supportive communities where people take responsibility for their own actions and how they affect others", which is reflected in an active promotion of resilience. It is thus important to policy development to understand the long-term impacts of flooding, as this will improve the evidence about the ways in which a community can become resilient, empowered and enabled to respond to these events.

Researchers at the James Hutton Institute and the University of Aberdeen are collaborating on a three-year research project which will assess the long-term impacts of flooding and complement other ways of delivering resilience in Scotland. Two areas of North-East Scotland hitby flooding in December 2015 and January 2016 will be the focus of the study. Social scientists from the Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences group of the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen are co-leading the research team, alongside the School of Geosciences attheUniversityofAberdeen.

The research will advance understanding of future responses to flooding and make recommendations on how to better support individuals and communities in the event of future flooding. It will produce practical recommendations to the Scottish Government and agencies that provide advice and assistance to communities during the aftermath offloodingandotherextremeevents. …

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