Community participation and strong social networks can aid preparedness to natural disaster such as tsunamis in vulnerable regions, shows new research conducted in the south of Thailand.
People who participate in social activities in their community are more likely to plan and prepare for future disasters, such as tsunamis, according to a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE.
The study was based on household surveys in tsunami-prone areas of Phang Nga, Thailand, a region which was hard hit by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, and which has been active in setting up tsunami early warning systems and disaster training programs.
“We found that in tsunami-prone areas, people who have participated in community activities are more likely to undertake disaster risk reduction actions,” says IIASA researcher Raya Muttarak, who led the study. “These include not only low-effort actions like following disaster-related news closely but also higher-effort actions like having a family emergency plan or having an intention to migrate.”
Previous IIASA research has shown that education, in particular women’s education, is connected with reduced vulnerability to natural disasters. The new study supports these findings, showing that in communities where more women had at least secondary school education, more people planned for disaster risk reduction. In addition, the researchers found a strong link between social engagement, or participation in social, sports, and religious activities in a community, and taking actions to prepare for a potential natural disaster.
“We don’t know if this is a causative link or whether people have some underlying characteristic that leads to these behaviors,” says Nopphol Witvorapong, an economist at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand and study co-author.. However, he says, the study is one of the first to account for unobserved characteristics and show evidence for a link between social activities and disaster preparedness, and suggests that further research is needed.
“While there is increasing discussion about the role of social engagement in disaster preparedness, until now there has been little evidence-based research on the topic,” says Wiraporn Pothisiri, a demographer at Chulalongkorn University. In order to gather such data, Pothisiri and Muttarak carried out a household survey of over 500 families in Phang Nga immediately after the 2012 Indian Ocean earthquakes using the earthquake events as a test for disaster preparedness in the region.
The researchers then analyzed the data using a statistical model to explore whether there were links between social engagement in the community, and disaster preparedness efforts including following disaster-related news closely, preparing a family emergency plan or a disaster supplies kit, or planning to migrate to a lower risk area.
The researchers say that community activities and social networks cannot replace early warning systems and disaster training, but rather that they can complement and promote diffusion of such efforts.
“Our research suggests that the success of these disaster reduction efforts may depend on social cohesion and networks in a community. Promoting bottom-up disaster reduction strategies will be more sustainable than the top-down ones,” says Witvorapong
Nopphol Witvorapong, Raya Muttarak, Wiraporn Pothisiri. (2015) Social Participation and Disaster Risk Reduction Behaviors in Tsunami Prone Areas. PLOS ONE. DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0130862
For more information contact:
Faculty of Economics, Chulalongkorn University
+66 813 718 789
IIASA World Population Program
+43(0) 2236 807 329
IIASA Press Office
Tel: +43 2236 807 316
Mob: +43 676 83 807 316
The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) is an international scientific institute that conducts research into the critical issues of global environmental, economic, technological, and social change that we face in the twenty-first century. Our findings provide valuable options to policy makers to shape the future of our changing world. IIASA is independent and funded by scientific institutions in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Oceania, and Europe. www.iiasa.ac.at
Katherine Leitzell | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Disarray in the brain
18.12.2017 | Universität zu Lübeck
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine
19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy