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Journal cover: Disaster Prevention and Management

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Online from: 1992

Subject Area: Environmental Management/Environment

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Resilience and adaptation of small and medium-sized enterprises to flood risk

Document Information:
Title:Resilience and adaptation of small and medium-sized enterprises to flood risk
Author(s):Gayan Wedawatta, (School of the Built Environment, University of Salford, Salford, UK), Bingunath Ingirige, (School of the Built Environment, University of Salford, Salford, UK)
Citation:Gayan Wedawatta, Bingunath Ingirige, (2012) "Resilience and adaptation of small and medium-sized enterprises to flood risk", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 21 Iss: 4, pp.474 - 488
Keywords:Adaptation, Climate change, Disasters, Flooding, Floods, Property, Resilience, Small to medium-sized enterprises, United Kingdom
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/09653561211256170 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Acknowledgements:The content of this paper forms part of the “Community Resilience to Extreme Weather (CREW)” research project, funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Authors would like to acknowledge the contributions made by academics of partner universities for the general discussions that formed the background to this paper. Professor Keith Jones and Dr Fuad Ali of the School of Architecture and Construction, University of Greenwich are specially acknowledged for their co-operation in conducting the research.

Purpose – The UK has experienced a number of flood events in recent years, and the intensity and frequency of such events are forecast to further increase in future due to changing climatic conditions. Accordingly, enhancing the resilience of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – which form an important segment in a society – to flood risk, has emerged as an important issue. However, SMEs often tend to underestimate the risk of flooding which tends to have a low priority in their business agenda. The purpose of this paper is to undertake an investigation of adaptation to the risk of flooding considering community-level measures, individual-level property protection, and business continuity and resilience measures.

Design/methodology/approach – A total of four short case studies were conducted among SMEs to identify their response to flood risk, and what measures have been undertaken to manage the risk of flooding.

Findings – It was observed that SMEs have implemented different property-level protection measures and generic business continuity/risk management measures, based on their requirements, to achieve a desired level of protection.

Practical implications – SMEs are likely to positively respond to property-level adaptation following a post-flood situation. It is important that information such as costs/benefits of such measures and different options available are made accessible to SMEs affected by a flood event.

Social implications – Implementation of property-level adaptation measures will contribute towards the long term adaptation of the existing building stock to changing climatic conditions.

Originality/value – The paper contributes towards policy making on flood risk adaptation and SME decision making, and informs policy makers and practitioners.

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