What should disaster risk reduction priorities be?

Posted on May 23, 2016  /  0 Comments

A6As promised, here is the full piece in FT on the lessons of the latest disaster:

When citizens pay no heed to alerts, warnings and evacuation orders, the normal reaction is to blame the citizens or ponder the possibilities of forcible means. But what we learned through our research and from reflective practitioners is that people have good reasons not to act on warnings. So if we want to design effective messages, we have to start from the minds of the recipients. We must practice empathy.

Evacuation, the primary means of getting people out of harm’s way, is a major disruption of the evacuee’s life. It carries enormous risk.

“Where do we go? Is it the home of a friend or relative? Will they give us shelter? Will they be unkind? Will they take our dog? If not a home of a friend or relative, what kind of place is it? Will it be safe for my family? Will my daughter be raped? Will we be robbed?”

“What will happen to my house? To my assets? Will we be robbed?”

As Sri Lanka becomes more prosperous, the risks get larger and decisions to evacuate even more difficult. When people affected by floods are not just the extremely poor living in shanties on reservations but those from asset-owning, middle-class homes, evacuation is hard.

– See more at: http://www.ft.lk/article/543508/Disaster-risk-reduction–empathy-and-message-design#sthash.L9lxOd5y.dpuf

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