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SOCIAL NETWORKS AND REDUCTION OF RISK IN NATURAL DISASTER: AN EXAMPLE OF WENCHUAN EARTHQUAKE
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SOCIAL NETWORKS AND REDUCTION OF RISK IN NATURAL DISASTER: AN EXAMPLE OF WENCHUAN EARTHQUAKE

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SOCIAL NETWORKS AND REDUCTION OF RISK IN NATURAL DISASTER: AN EXAMPLE OF WENCHUAN EARTHQUAKE

SOCIAL NETWORKS AND REDUCTION OF RISK IN NATURAL DISASTER: AN EXAMPLE OF WENCHUAN EARTHQUAKE

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  • 1. Social Capital and Natural Disasters: The Example of the Wenchuan Earthquake Zhao, Yandong Institute of Science, Technology and Society Chinese Academy of S&T for Development Disaster Reduction Conference Davos, 2010-06
  • 2. Disasters, risk and social capital
  • 3. Social aspect of disasters
    • Disaster: a social phenomenon
      • Disasters are not only natural or technical hazards, but also have complex social impacts
      • Kreps (1984:312) defined disasters as
        • “ events, observable in time and space, in which societies or their larger subunits (e.g. communities, regions) incur physical damages and losses and/or disruption of their routine functioning”
    • Sociological studies of disasters
      • how to mitigate the social impact of disasters
      • disasters provide a “natural laboratory” for understanding social structure and social process
  • 4. Social capital: the missing link?
    • Social Capital: A social structural resource
      • Micro-level social capital
        • Resources embedded in personal network, which enables actors to get more external social resources
        • It helps people to obtain information, knowledge and social support, thus is helpful for people to achieve higher social-economic status
      • Macro-level social capital
        • Features of social organization, such as networks, norms, and trust, that facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit
        • It plays a indispensable role in promoting economic performance, making democracy work, alleviating poverty and ensuring sustainable development
  • 5. Social capital and disasters
    • Micro-social capital (social networks)
      • Social networks and social associations are the basic social units that respond in a disaster (Drabek et al ,1981)
      • Social networks and social capital are the most dependable resources in the aftermath of disasters (Dynes, 2005)
    • Macro-social capital (trust, norm and participation)
      • Communities with good tradition of social participation and self-organizing could react more efficiently to the disaster (Dynes, 2005)
      • Communities with more trust recover quicker and better from disaster (Shaw, 2005)
  • 6. Data
    • A two-rounds survey in Wenchuan earthquake area
      • Organized by CASTED, supported by Norwegian MFA and FAFO AIS
      • Conducted in July, 2008 and 2009
      • Random sampling, which covered…
        • 26 affected cities and counties
        • 174 clusters (villages, residential committees or temporary clusters)
        • 4526 (2008) and 5549 (2009) households
      • Face-to-face questionnaire survey
      • Finished 3625 and 4037 households, a response rate of 80.7% and 72.8%
      • Aiming at providing data for policy makers
        • describing the living conditions, policy needs, the attitude and future plans of the affected population
  • 7. Micro-social capital and risk reduction in Wenchuan earthquake
  • 8. Search and rescue
    • Our survey showed…
      • 95% percent of entrapped victims were rescued by relatives, neighbors and other persons around.
      • Only a very small percentage were rescued by external rescue personnel
  • 9. Information
    • One of the main forms of micro-social capital is that the network can facilitate information flow
    • In 2008 data…
      • around 16 percent of residents acquired information through the channel of social networks
      • Networks is the third most important channel
  • 10. Social support
    • Social networks provide informal support
    • In our data, “Relatives and friends” are the second most important sources of support
      • They became even more important when social lives come back to normal
  • 11. Mental health
    • Social capital and mental health
      • Researchers noticed that networks could provide emotional support and maintain the psychological health
    • The great stress brought by earthquake losses may create short-term and long-term psychological distress
    • Studies have found that social capital reduce the negative impact of traumatic impacts of disasters
  • 12.
    • Those who have…
      • bigger size network
      • more relatives in the network
      • NOT suffered from the loss of network
    • The results support…
      • buffering effect of networks
      • dense and homogenous networks are better in providing emotional support
      • damage to networks has negative impact on mental health
    Who has better psychological condition? OLS regression, dependent=mental health score
  • 13. Transformation towards new types of social capital
  • 14. Social participation
    • People in the earthquake area are actively helping each other, according to the 2009 survey, throughout the year after earthquake …
      • 30.5% of respondents had provide support to relatives,
      • 29.6% provided support to friends, and
      • 20.7% provided support to strangers
      • In total, 42.4% had provided support to others
  • 15. Social participation
    • People are also actively participating in collective action, in 2009 survey we found …
      • During last year, 43.1% of respondents had participated in patrolling, distributing materials, constructing roads/bridges
      • Employed, higher educated, party member, and males are more likely to participate
    • The proportion of social participation is rising, comparing to 2008 survey…
      • 13.8%  43.1%
    • Most of the collective activities are organised by local communities; Self-organistion is becoming popular
      • local communities 68.5%; self-organised (17.1%); work unit (9.9%); Government (6.7%)
  • 16. Social integration and trust
    • Most (88.1%) people believe that their communities are more solid than before
    • The level of trust are a lit bit lower than last year, but are clearly higher than in 2004
    Family Strangers government police media Neighbour Foreigner community leader doctor
    • Has the earthquake contributed to the accumulation of social capital in China? (Zhao, 2007, 2008)
  • 17. Conclusion and Discussion
  • 18.
    • Social capital are important resources to reduce risk in disasters
    • In the early phase of disasters most of the search and rescue are performed by social network members
      • Therefore, the government should focus on providing basic rescue skills to the residents in disaster prone areas as a key content of disaster preparation
    • In the aftermath of disaster, social capital can…
      • facilitate the flow of information
      • provide various types of support, and
      • help to maintain the mental health of the victims
  • 19.
    • Thus, the government should try to make full use of existing social capital in reconstruction
      • maintain social networks in disaster affected areas
      • make good use of existing social network in reconstruction processes
      • realize that investment in social networks/capital is a long term one, rather than emergency policy response
    • We could also build up social capital …
      • by positive policies from government
      • by activities of NGOs
      • by participation and self-organistion of the public
  • 20. Thanks [email_address]

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