A participatory community case study of periurban coastal flood vulnerability in southern Ecuador

Autoři: Erica Tauzer aff001;  Mercy J Borbor-Cordova aff002;  Jhoyzett Mendoza aff003;  Telmo De La Cuadra aff003;  Jorge Cunalata aff004;  Anna M Stewart-Ibarra aff001
Působiště autorů: Institute for Global Health & Translational Science, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York, United States of America aff001;  Facultad de Ingeniería Marítima y Ciencias del Mar, Escuela Superior Politecnica del Litoral (ESPOL), Guayaquil, Guayas Province, Ecuador aff002;  National Service for Risk Management and Emergencies, Guayaquil, Guayas Province, Ecuador aff003;  Universidad Tecnica de Machala, Machala, El Oro Province, Ecuador aff004;  Department of Medicine, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York, United States of America aff005;  InterAmerican Institute for Global Change Research (IAI), Montevideo, Department of Montevideo, Uruguay aff006
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(10)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0224171



Populations in coastal cities are exposed to increasing risk of flooding, resulting in rising damages to health and assets. Adaptation measures, such as early warning systems for floods (EWSFs), have the potential to reduce the risk and impact of flood events when tailored to reflect the local social-ecological context and needs. Community perceptions and experiences play a critical role in risk management, since perceptions influence people’s behaviors in response to EWSFs and other interventions.


We investigated community perceptions and responses in flood-prone periurban areas in the coastal city of Machala, Ecuador. Focus groups (n = 11) were held with community members (n = 65 people) to assess perceptions of flood exposure, sensitivity, adaptive capacity, and current alert systems. Discussions were audio recorded, transcribed, and coded by topic. Participatory maps were field validated, georeferenced, and digitized using GIS software. Qualitative data were triangulated with historical government information on rainfall, flood events, population demographics, and disease outbreaks.


Flooding was associated with seasonal rainfall, El Niño events, high ocean tides, blocked drainage areas, overflowing canals, collapsed sewer systems, and low local elevation. Participatory maps revealed spatial heterogeneity in perceived flood risk across the community. Ten areas of special concern were mapped, including places with strong currents during floods, low elevation areas with schools and homes, and other places that accumulate stagnant water. Sensitive populations included children, the elderly, physically handicapped people, low-income families, and recent migrants. Flood impacts included damages to property and infrastructure, power outages, and the economic cost of rebuilding/repairs. Health impacts included outbreaks of infectious diseases, skin infections, snakebite, and injury/drowning. Adaptive capacity was weakest during the preparation and recovery stages of flooding. Participants perceived that their capacity to take action was limited by a lack of social organization, political engagement, and financial capital. People perceived that flood forecasts were too general, and instead relied on alerts via social media.


This study highlights the challenges and opportunities for climate change adaptation in coastal cities. Areas of special concern provide clear local policy targets. The participatory approach presented here (1) provides important context to shape local policy and interventions in Ecuador, complimenting data gathered through standard flood reports, (2) provides a voice for marginalized communities and a mechanism to raise local awareness, and (3) provides a research framework that can be adapted to other resource-limited coastal communities at risk of flooding.

Klíčová slova:

Canals – Census – Dengue fever – Ecuador – Epidemiology – Finance – Flooding – Rain


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