The Greater Christchurch earthquakes of 2010 and 2011: acase study in the Communication of          Science for DRR       ...
NEW ZEALAND SETTING – Earthquake & DRR                                                 •   Earthquake drills in schools   ...
Christchurch, NZ earthquake swarm        •   Damaged NZ’s 2nd largest city            land, homes, historic buildings,    ...
DRR – a wicked problem, solutions to which are informed by science               What is in mass media both         create...
An Integrative & Holistic Approach toAnalysis of Media Communication of Science for DRR            Goal – best practice DR...
4R focus                             Readiness Response                                                               Reco...
BEFORE the first earthquake on Sep 4 2010     Geoscience - Mentions of Primary Earthquake Hazard EffectsLiquefaction      ...
Sciences of DRR                                              Geoscience                     focus      section       brief...
Science & Liquefaction, Lateral spreading,    Land damage, Land remediation and Land use• Told volumes of silt removed• In...
Metanarrative Summary - AFTERSHOCK STORIES• Most items record occurrence and damage• Aftershock damage warnings in media b...
Summary• Focus on Geoscience - sense-making of earthquake processes and effects• Few explanations of cause of disaster, vu...
A different kind of story        Mara Apse - Port Hills resident – concerned about hillside cracks, spoke        with “sci...
“For Mara and her community, the project restored a sense of  purposefulness and some small measure of control, countering...
The Greater Christchurch earthquakes of 2010 and 2011: acase study in the Communication of          Science for DRR       ...
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The Greater Christchurch earthquakes of 2010 and 2011: a case study in the communication of science for disaster risk reduction

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Vivienne BRYNER1,2, Richard NORRIS2, Jean FLEMING1

1The Centre for Science Communication, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand; 2Geology Department, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

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The Greater Christchurch earthquakes of 2010 and 2011: a case study in the communication of science for disaster risk reduction

  1. 1. The Greater Christchurch earthquakes of 2010 and 2011: acase study in the Communication of Science for DRR Vivienne Bryner Travel & Conference attendance supported by: NZ Federation of Graduate Women, Otago branch; and University of Otago Division of Sciences, Geology Dept & Centre for Science Communication
  2. 2. NEW ZEALAND SETTING – Earthquake & DRR • Earthquake drills in schools • Household insurance levy - national natural disaster fund • Academic & government funded eq monitoring & research M 6.8M 7.9 • Engineering research - materials & construction GisborneFiordland Dec 2007 • Building codesJuly 2009 • Programme of seismic strengthening of old, ‘earthquake- prone’ buildings overseen by local authorities • Ad campaigns -Get Ready Get Thru / Drop Cover & Holdbase figures courtesy of Russ Van Dissen, GNS Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management Promotes approaches that are: - participatory - in keeping with HFA - holistic, eg all hazards, 4Rs - collaborative/interdisciplinary - scientifically robust
  3. 3. Christchurch, NZ earthquake swarm • Damaged NZ’s 2nd largest city land, homes, historic buildings, CBD, and infrastructure • 186 deaths • Cost US$16-20billion - 8% NZ GDP • Lives on hold - affected most Nzers • Aftershock sequence that moved toward city – 58 > M5 to date • Widespread liquefaction • Cliff collapse & rockfall base figure courtesy of Russ Van Dissen, GNS
  4. 4. DRR – a wicked problem, solutions to which are informed by science What is in mass media both creates and reflects DRR-Science culture “In an earthquake the ground will not swallow you up.” Photo: NZPA Photo: http://myapplenewton.blogspot.com How mass media communications are framed creates and anchors expectations & influences actionsBelief in self-efficacy positively influences risk reduction behaviours Communication needs to be participatory & scientifically robust
  5. 5. An Integrative & Holistic Approach toAnalysis of Media Communication of Science for DRR Goal – best practice DRR communication empowering citizens with evidence-based information to support understanding, decision-making & actions from Smith, 2009 Media Analysis looking for DRR mentions and empowering solutions
  6. 6. 4R focus Readiness Response Recovery ReductionSep 4- Sep 3 Online print media articles (ODT) 95 161 2008/2009 2009/2010 2010/201143 bm_Readiness 14 42 Readiness 5 bm_ReadinessResponse ReadinessResponse bm_Responsen=182 n=362 n=4199 Response bm_ResponseRecovery ResponseRecovery Television items (TV1) 4 40 22 bm_Recovery 4 11 4 Recovery bm_RecoveryReduction RecoveryReduction bm_Reduction n=28 n=73 n=1347 Reduction ReductionReadiness • Focus on crisis/Response – consequences, harms and problems bm_other • Recovery barely mentioned before earthquake swarm (bm = brief mention) • Rare discussion of Reduction – avoidance & mitigation • Readiness - survival kits rather than business or EM planning
  7. 7. BEFORE the first earthquake on Sep 4 2010 Geoscience - Mentions of Primary Earthquake Hazard EffectsLiquefaction 4 mentionsTsunami (image coutesy of Russ van Dissen, GNS taken by Tonkin & Taylor)LandslideSeicheRockfallShakingLateral Spreading n = 856 “earthquake” articles from http://www.stuff.co.nz/ April 04 2009 – Sep 3 2010 (Fairfax media website - articles from Christchurch-based “The Press”)
  8. 8. Sciences of DRR Geoscience focus section brief mention 100% 90% Multiple (Geosci + other) 80% 70% 60% Geotech Engineering 50% 40% 30% 20% n =1347 TV1 items Structural Engineering 10% 0%Sep 4 2010 – Dec 3 2011 Health Science Other No ScienceHealth detail Science Topic focus Geoscience detail Tectonic processes/seismology Public health_disease & other Geomorphology and hazard effects Psychosocial effects Geosci - aftershock consequence Emergency medicine Likelihood/probability incl a/shock Pathology, cause of death & DVI process Pseudoscience/prediction
  9. 9. Science & Liquefaction, Lateral spreading, Land damage, Land remediation and Land use• Told volumes of silt removed• Info-graphics to explain what was publically unknown phenomenon• Lateral spreading cracks – not explained as distinct from surface rupture (imges courtesy of Russ van Dissen, GNS) Land zonation, remediation & future use• Primary sources Recovery Minister and the Mayor of Christchurch City• ‘Science takes time’• Imply science basis of well-informed decision-making, but never explain science• No discussion of relative cost of various land remediation or structural engineering solutions
  10. 10. Metanarrative Summary - AFTERSHOCK STORIES• Most items record occurrence and damage• Aftershock damage warnings in media briefings• Classification as separate insurance events• Expectations and forecasting & pseudoscientific predictions• Aftershock sequence well recorded and close to major city, not rare• Psychological effects of aftershock• Late June 2011 civic insurance lapsed• Recovery Minister & scientists to Lloyds & reinsurers• Little transparency in media around effect of aftershock on rebuild decision-making - time-frames and decisions to abandon areas after multiple liquefaction events In summary – aftershock warnings and roll of dice chance given, argument about whether prediction possible but little about the subjective cost-benefit trade-offs being made on the basis of GNS Science-derived probabilities. Science focus <5% items.
  11. 11. Summary• Focus on Geoscience - sense-making of earthquake processes and effects• Few explanations of cause of disaster, vulnerabilities of built communities• Focus on probability and consequence rather risk exposure• Absence of articles explaining hazard and risk assessment processes• Few lessons learnt articles• Reference to learning from previous eqs/disasters local or international rare• Little detail on possibilities in avoidance and mitigation• Responsibility for reducing exposure to seismic risk – household preparation, govt & experts make decisions based on science not explained in media• Rare application of science to DRR solutions
  12. 12. A different kind of story Mara Apse - Port Hills resident – concerned about hillside cracks, spoke with “scientists scouring the Port Hills and the residents whose fate these experts would determine” and asked what locals could do to help. Three experts “advising Civil Defence and EQC on land stability and remediation issues” - Mark Yetton (consultant geologist), James Molloy (principal geotechnical engineer GHD) and Dave Bell (University of Canterburys Natural Hazards Research Centre) who “believed there was an immediate temporary solution available for this neighbourhoods hillside crack: bentonite.” Other Port Hills residents - concerned about hillside cracks – “prepared to do what it takes” to stay in the neighbourhood, including barrowing 7 tonnes of bentonite and 23 tonnes of gravel up through 40 properties to fill cracks. “Christchurch three months on” – Cate Brett, Stuff (Sunday Star Times), 22/05/2011)Images courtesy of Russ Van Dissen, GNS
  13. 13. “For Mara and her community, the project restored a sense of purposefulness and some small measure of control, countering the sometimes overwhelming sense of powerlessness that most have experienced in the wake of the quake.” “Christchurch three months on” – Cate Brett, Stuff (Sunday Star Times), 22/05/2011)Story tells of:• successful dialogical communication between geoscienceexperts and public• far more than recognition of a problem• a scientifically robust solution• scientists working with community to find solutions• more than household preparedness and survival actions• an empowered community – involved in disaster risk reduction
  14. 14. The Greater Christchurch earthquakes of 2010 and 2011: acase study in the Communication of Science for DRR Vivienne Bryner Travel & Conference attendance supported by: NZ Federation of Graduate Women, Otago branch; and University of Otago Division of Sciences, Geology Dept & Centre for Science Communication

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