Monday 5
Community Flood Resilience and Development : From Theory to Practice
Frederic Grelot, Adriana Keating, Wei Liu, Reinhard Mechler
› 11:05 - 18:00 (6h55)
› Béziers
Response to disaster and reorganization in social-ecological systems : the 2010 flood in São Luiz do Paraitinga (brazil) from a resilience perspective
Juliana Farinaci  1, *@  , Cristiana Seixas  2, *@  , Luciana Abrahamsson@
1 : University of Campinas  (UNICAMP)  -  Website
Rua dos Flamboyants, 155 13083-867 Campinas, SP -  Brésil
2 : University of Campinas  (UNICAMP)  -  Website
Rua dos Flamboyants, 155 13083-867 Campinas, SP -  Brésil
* : Corresponding author

Recurrent flooding is a pressing problem worldwide. Besides their high frequency, damage related to flood is extensive, affects a large number of people and causes great material losses. As environmental disasters, they emphasize the complex social-ecological interactions where humans are not merely victims, but contribute to the production and amplification of risks. However, the disruption that follows a disaster presents opportunities for institutional change that would not be possible prior to the event. Understanding the forces that drive the system during crises and reorganization episodes is fundamental to plan resilient cities, capable of preparing for and recovering from impacts. In Brazil, floods are the most frequent type of environmental disaster, which causes the most extensive damages. Considering predictions of an increase in frequency and intensity of extreme climatic events, this problem will likely be aggravated. We focus on the case of the 2010 flood in São Luiz do Paraitinga, a cultural/architectural heritage site, located on Eastern São Paulo State, Brazil. Using social-ecological resilience as a conceptual framework, we aim to understand the key-factors that favor the capacity of responding to crises triggered by floods, and how opportunities open by such events can contribute to institutional learning and increasing adaptive capacity. Our methods are based on semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and observation of meetings of Municipality's Councils. The flood that took place in early 2010 in São Luiz do Paraitinga is a noteworthy case of successful coping with flood, unlike several other recent cases in Brazil. Despite the intensity of the disaster and tremendous material losses, the local community was capable of rapidly self-organizing in response to the crisis, avoiding human losses and quickly restoring a state of normal life (city cleaning, infrastructure and public services), denoting their resilience to this specific shock. Our results show that, during the crisis, previous experience with smaller floods; expertise of eco-tourism groups (appropriate equipment and skills for rafting); and the presence of leaders who articulated an efficient network of volunteers; were essential to avoid human losses. Several factors contributed to the process of reorganization, including integrated management of financial and human resources (e.g., creation of “The Center for Sustainable Reconstruction of São Luiz do Paraitinga” and activation of Municipality's Councils); pre-existence of a Participatory Directive Plan that guided reconstruction; partnership among local public authorities, research institutions, and social organizations; and the relevance of cultural and natural heritages for attracting external aid. Furthermore, local residents refused to portray themselves as victims – which is related to a strong sense of place and a high level of cultural capital. Instead, the community faced the disaster as an opportunity of improving the city and took a proactive behavior towards reconstruction. Currently, as the system enters a new phase of growth and accumulation, we analyze the creation or transformation of social institutions as well as initiatives capable of decreasing the risk of future flood (e.g., reforestation along watercourses and engineering solutions) and the vulnerability of people (e.g., reallocation of residents from risky areas and rural development programs). 


Online user: 1 RSS Feed