Volume No. 5 Issue No.: 4 Page No.: 1017-1022 April-June 2011

 

RISK PERCEPTION AND KNOWLEDGE GAP BETWEEN EXPERTS AND THE PUBLIC : ISSUES OF FLOOD HAZARDS MANAGEMENT IN CANADA

 

Parnali Dhar Chowdhury* and C. Emdad Haque

Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba (CANADA)

 

Received on : January 21, 2011

 

ABSTRACT

 

The goal of this research was to assist in improving the decision-making process of flood disaster management in the Red river basin of Canada, through a better understanding of risk perception and the knowledge of both experts and the public. The findings of the 1997 Red River flood in Manitoba, Canada case study have revealed that the institutional efforts aimed at reducing risk and vulnerability at the local level are likely to be successful if experts or decision makers are aware of how local residents perceive risk. This study attempted to examine and identify the differences or gap that exists in risk perception between 30 public respondents and 12 flood experts in the Red River basin, through a modified version of the Delphi method. The results of the study revealed that the gap between the public and experts concerning risk perception is not as significant as the literature suggests. However, a gap does exist concerning the mutual understanding between experts and the public, and a deficiency in risk communication between them is clearly recognized. Institutional initiatives to address risk communication problems, particularly to reduce flood loss, are therefore required.

 

Keywords : Risk perception, Flood, Hazard, Disaster, Management, Experts, Public

 

 

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