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Power relations: a catalyst in the building of flood disaster resilience capacities in the orashi region of rivers state


International Journal of Hydrology
Ibama Brown,1 Tari Eyenghe,2 Sodieari Henderson Boyle3

Abstract

Climate change-related disasters have in recent years become a global phenomenon with catastrophic consequences. Africa has had most of the consequences of climate change related disasters, resulting in monumental urban and rural flooding, widespread casualties, displacements, loss of property and sources of livelihood. Given the long-term implications of climate change, it is critically important to understand how vulnerable communities respond to the menace occasioned by flooding. The impact of the flooding is felt more in low-lying communities situated along the coastal fringes leaving inherently vulnerable communities to the vagaries of flooding. However, despite of their vulnerability to flooding disasters, some people displayed resilience capacities more than others because of their apparent access to resources and power within and outside their localities. The study investigated the issue, through the application of the qualitative approach that drew the Bourdieusian theory of practice, deploying the analytical concepts of fields, habitus and species of capital to gather useful information from relevant focus groups to understand how various forms of power was employed to capture resources that enhanced resilience capacities in the seasonal flood prone Orashi region of Rivers State of Nigeria. Following the outcome of the analysis of the information gathered from the focus group and a review of relevant literature, it was revealed that most of the vulnerable population displayed some ingrained disposition and the deployment of indigenous knowledge and social capital for adaptation to survive flood disasters. It is therefore concluded that dynamics of power is a key factor in the resilience capacities of the population of the study.

Keywords

catalysts, flood disaster, orashi region, power relations, resilience

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