The purpose of this paper is to explore the experiences of vulnerable people during flood events, impacts of changes in mobility on well-being and the extent to which frontline services, emergency planning officers and other service providers allocate resources for vulnerable members of the community to meet the challenges posed by floods.
In-depth qualitative interviews carried out with 15 vulnerable residents, seven community representatives and eight service providers.
Vulnerable people’s well-being was negatively affected by the disruption to travel caused by floods, though support from the community to some extent redressed these negative feelings. Whilst there seems to be a strong response from both the community and the local authorities to the mobility needs of vulnerable people during floods, what seems to be missing is an equal response from the private sector in terms of provision of transport services to access goods such as food and money.
More needs to be done to make sure that communication and support networks are formalised to address the potential unevenness of informal networks. Private companies need to engage more with customers. Improved information and more resilient services such as 4×4 vehicles and doorstep provision of goods and money would directly support vulnerable people who are highly dependent on their services.
This study is the first in the UK to explore and compare the private experiences of vulnerable people with the views of stakeholders who could support them during floods.
Funding: this study was funded by a small grant from the UCL Grand Challenge of Sustainable Cities.
The authors would like to acknowledge the community in Oxford who kindly gave their time to participate in this study. In addition the authors would like to thank David Macdonald from the British Geological Survey who kindly provided us with images of the floods in Oxford.
Christie, N., Griffin, L., Chan, N., Twigg, J. and Titheridge, H. (2016), "Private needs, public responses: vulnerable people’s flood-disrupted mobility", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 25 No. 2, pp. 244-260. https://doi.org/10.1108/DPM-11-2015-0254Download as .RIS
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