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
Some brain tumors may respond to immunotherapy, new study suggests
11.12.2018 | Columbia University Irving Medical Center
Climate change and air pollution damaging health and causing millions of premature deaths
30.11.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy