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Some realities of resilience: an updated case study of storms and flooding at Chiswell, Dorset

James Lewis (Datum International, Marshfield, UK)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 23 August 2013




The purpose of this paper is to reassess Chiswell's vulnerability to storm and sea flooding since an analysis made in 1979 and to identify characteristics of resilience, a more recent item of disaster studies terminology.


Chiswell's geography, geomorphology and changes affecting its vulnerability up to 1979, are described against its history of storms. Two serious storms in 1978 and 1979 drew attention to Chiswell's need of improved protection and a flood alleviation scheme was completed. Some consequences for Chiswell of the completed scheme are described and considered in relation to climate change, Chiswell's inclusion in the UNESCO Jurassic Coast and its expression of human ecology in a context of natural hazards of the sea.


Resilience existed before its inclusion in the terminology of disaster studies. The role of a community pressure group and of local and national administrations are considered against the timescale of protection provision. The essential requirement of external inputs before community resilience became evident is highlighted, together with additional observed and itemised characteristics of resilience.

Research limitations/implications

Updated research is based upon the results of rapid field observation and extensive use of internet sources, not available in 1979.

Practical implications

Realities of resilience may assist interpretation of its theoretical evaluations and expectations.


As yet, there are few field evaluations of resilience.



Lewis, J. (2013), "Some realities of resilience: an updated case study of storms and flooding at Chiswell, Dorset", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 22 No. 4, pp. 300-311.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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