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

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

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