Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Dr. Mary Bruce



Flood disasters have been a challenge in Liberia for the past 15 years. The result has been hardship for residents, which has created major disruptions to social and economic services. Global warming, poor environmental conditions and weak disaster management policies among other factors are largely blamed for the floods. The conceptual framework for this study was Barton's collective stress theory and Edwards' varied response theory, which guided this exploration of how flood victims perceive the effectiveness of the Liberian government's flood disaster management strategies. A total of 25 participants were recruited for this grounded theory study. Twenty participants were victims of flooding and 5 participants were managers from government and non-governmental organizations (NGO) entities. Data were collected from open-ended semistructured interviews with the participants. Multiple sources such as individuals and group interviews, field notes were used to support the study. Data analysis utilized descriptive coding. Results suggest community and government needs include: (a) policies on zonal regulations to reduce the problem of flooded drainages, (b) funding and other support for disaster emergency management institutions, (c) decentralizing and empowering local government agencies for disaster emergency management, and (d) empowering communities themselves through funding and training to become the first line of defense when floods occur. This dissertation may support positive social change by highlighting the need for government to strengthen disaster management policies to include zoning and building permit regulations, funding for disaster emergency management institutions, and flood control.