A Qualitative Descriptive Study: Understanding Flood and Storm Risk Communication, Perceptions, and Interpretations of Myanmar Migrants in the Context of Auckland, New Zealand

Kyaw, Su Myat
Holloway, Ailsa
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Master of Emergency Management
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Auckland University of Technology

Migrant groups are viewed as particularly vulnerable in conditions of increased disaster risk. This represents a key consideration for disaster risk reduction planning in urban areas with large, diverse populations characterised by both dominant and less visible migrant groups. This study sought to examine the flood and storm perceptions of the “invisible” Myanmar migrant community in Auckland, New Zealand. It investigated how the migrants perceived flood and storm threats in an Auckland context as well as their information-seeking and preparedness actions in response to warning advice. Using a qualitative descriptive study, semi-structured interviews were carried out with eight Myanmar migrant participants residing in Auckland. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic at the time of data collection, all interviews were conducted remotely and digitally recorded. Through thematic analysis of interviews and NVivo software for the coding process, three main themes were identified: 1) flood and storm risk perceptions and interpretations for action, 2) socio-cultural perspectives and practices and 3) preparedness. Study results also revealed four important issues that cut across all themes. These were the lasting effects of prior experience, language, bonding social capital and the exclusion of migrant sub-minorities. While findings on the role of bonding social capital and language barriers were consistent with existing literature, the exclusion of migrant sub-minorities from risk communication processes were unexpected. Study results also highlighted shortcomings in disaster risk communication models that do not adequately incorporate social capital considerations or address communication gaps due to poorly developed bridging and linking social capital. It calls for further migrant-related research that integrates issues of social capital with prevailing risk communication models, and that advances an inclusive approach to resilience-building in highly diverse urban settings.

Risk communication , Disaster , Information , Vulnerability , Myanmar migrants
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