ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Strategies to promote community resilience in disaster management: The case of flooding in selected communities in Bangladesh and Australia (2010-ongoing)

Strategic Research Areas

Sustainable Business Development in Regional Australia

Improving Rural Livelihoods and Environments in Developing Countries



Investigators/ Researchers

Dr Valerie Ingham, ILWS &  Prof John Hicks, ILWS (Team leaders), Mir Rabiul Islam, CSU, Ian Manock, CSU & Dr Richard Sappey, CSU


The purpose of the project was to find out to what extent and how selected flood-prone communities in Bangladesh and Australia perceived the risk of flooding in their communities, and the role and response of government and voluntary organisations, and informal community arrangements, in flood prevention, preparation, management and recovery.

The project employed qualitative and quantitative research techniques using data sources which included government and inter-government organisations, and interviews with key informants and focus group interviews.

In 2010 Drs Val Ingham and Rabiul Islam conducted a field trip to Bangladesh with the assistance of the Comprehensive Disaster Management Program in Bangladesh. In February 2012 there was a major collection of Australian data in conjunction with the Sate Emergency Service (SES).

In 2013 the project was extended to look specifically at the role of women in flooding in Bangladesh.

Two important outcomes are:

  • the demonstration of the need to enhance social capital for disaster management in Australia as a means of increasing community resilience. The research found that Australians tended to rely on institutional capital unlike the people of Bangladesh who were forced to rely on social capital to maintain their resilience to flooding because of the clearly inadequate and inefficient (often the result of corruption) delivery of institutional capital in that country
  • that cultural issues in Bangladesh, which restricted the role Muslim women were able to play in responding to disaster, were gradually being overcome – especially in communities where men were largely absent and the women had to take on non-traditional roles in order to ensure survival.


Ingham,V., Hicks,J., Islam,R., and Manock,I. (2015) Evidence of Adaption to Flooding from three Regions in Bangladesh: A Multidisciplinary Study', International Journal of Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies, 9 (3-4), (Formerly International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Science)

Islam, R., Ingham, V., Hicks, J., & Manock, I. (2014) The Changing Role of Women in Resilience, Recovery and Economic Development at the Intersection of Recurrent Disaster: A Case Study from Sirajgang, Bangladesh. Journal of Asian and African Studies pp. 1-18, DOI: 10.177/0021909614560244

Ingham, V., Hicks, J., Islam, R., Manock, I & Sappey, R. (2011) An Interdisciplinary Approach to Disaster Management, Incorporating Economics and Social Psychology in a Comparative Study of Flooding' International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, 6(5) pp. 93-106.

Ingham, V., Hicks, J., Islam, R., Manock, I & Sappey, R. (2012) Flooding in Bangladesh and Australia: Applying an  interdisciplinary model', International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Science. 6 (8) pp. 81-92.

Ingham, V., Hicks, J., Islam, R., Manock, I & Sappey, R (2012) 'Adapting to flooding: Evidence from three regions of Bangladesh' Paper presented to the XIII World Congress of Rural Sociology, July 29 to August 4, 2012, Lisbon – Portugal.

Manock, I ., Islam, R., Hicks, J., Sappey, R  & Ingham, V., & (2013) Community response to frequent flooding in an Australian rural  town, Australian Journal of Emergency Management. 28(1), pp.42-48.


The study will provide recommendations for flood policy as well as practical outcomes, particularly to assist people and strengthen communities to plan for the prevention of and response to flooding and how to rebuild from it.

Dr Valerie Ingham
Charles Sturt University – Bathurst

March 2016