Last Updated: Friday, July 10, 2015

Lacking strong social networks? Your natural disaster preparedness can never work as you have planned


How strong is your social interaction and community participation? If you don't have these criteria, then you are less likely to undertake disaster risk reduction actions.

People who participate in social activities in their community are more likely to plan and prepare for future natural disasters, according to a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE.

A household survey was conducted in tsunami-prone areas of Phang Nga, Thailand, a region which was hard hit by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunam. The study came with the conclusion that people who have participated in community activities are more likely to undertake disaster risk reduction actions.

"We found that in tsunami-prone areas, people who have participated in community activities are more likely to undertake disaster risk reduction actions," Science Daily has written quoting International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) researcher Raya Muttarak, who led the study.

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 calamity.

Earlier study by IASA published in the journal Science had shown education making people less vulnerable to natural disasters such as floods, landslides, and storms that are expected to intensify with climate change. The result was based on the analysis of natural disaster data for 167 countries over the past four decades.

Journal Reference:

Nopphol Witvorapong, Raya Muttarak, Wiraporn Pothisiri. Social Participation and Disaster Risk Reduction Behaviors in Tsunami Prone Areas. PLOS ONE, 2015; 10 (7): e0130862 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0130862