A Community-Based Vulnerability Assessment of Terrestrial Flooding in the South Oropouche River Basin After Tropical Storm Bret

Don Charles


The year 2017 had a very active season for hurricanes and extreme weather conditions. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria did damage to several Caribbean islands. Even Trinidad and Tobago (T&T), a country which rarely experiences extreme weather conditions, was affected by Tropical Storm Bret. Tropical Storm Bret caused flooding in T&T, especially in the low lying South Oropouche River Basin.

There is a dearth of research conducted in T&T about the impact of extreme weather conditions and flooding on communities and families. Thus, this study sought to conduct a community base vulnerability assessment (CBVA) of the impact of the Tropical Storm Bret induced flooding upon the residents of the South Oropouche River Basin.

Primary data was collected via semi-structured interviews and questionnaires to conduct the CBVA. Furthermore, this study introduced a Modal Community Based Vulnerability Assessment Index (MCBVAI) to help determine which factors the residents South Oropouche River Basin are most vulnerable to.

This study found that the most vulnerable residents were vulnerable largely to their building of structures at locations unsuitable for housing. Moreover, the most vulnerable residents also built structures that were not resilient to flooding and was elevated less than 4 feet (ft) off the ground. The appropriate policy response for the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (GORTT) would be to i) establish building codes, ii) develop a comprehensive spatial planning strategy which prohibits people from building structures in unsuitable areas, and iii) implement disaster risk reduction programmes which focus on improving pre-event disaster preparedness, improving the national and local response, and promoting educational awareness.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/ijba.v9n4p166

International Journal of Business Administration
ISSN 1923-4007(Print) ISSN 1923-4015(Online)


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