Information categories concerning short term disaster recovery


After a disaster strikes, the type of information sought is related to housing and infrastructure reconstruction but also (when possible and available) to refunds, business recovery and damage assessment. Local governments such as city councils and regional councils are considered as the main source of the information (Tagliacozzo & Magni 2016). Studying the earthquake that struck Emilia-Romagna (Northern Italy) in 2012, Tagliacozzo and Magni also found that "15% of the respondents searched for information on preservation of the historical heritage, 13% searched for information on traffic plans and public transportation and 11% were interested in information concerning new recovery policies and agencies, volunteering and events related to the reconstruction, educational and health services or use of donations. The least searched information concerned environmental risks (10%), psychosocial support (6%), citizens' committees and associations (6%) and debris management (6%). "This shows how diverse the information needs are after a disaster. Respondents who held a university degree turned out to be the most likely to seek information on funds and refunds. However in this study, no other socio-cultural difference was stated as impacting the informational needs during this phase of the disaster. Jones also found that people living in countries under humanitarian crises focus primarily on shelters and access to employment (Jones 2006). On the whole, during each phase of the disaster, needs for information vary slightly depending on cultural factors. Rather than the nature of the information, what vary may be the source and the support of the information (e.g. digital or not, text or visual). Regardless of cultural differences, people need to get information in a language they understand. For instance, in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina, most warnings were disseminated in English only, which led to delays in evacuation from the Spanish speaking population. During Hurricane Sandy, most of the information about evacuation using public transport was also available exclusively in English, whether that be on the public transport authorities' websites or social media. This was found to hinder non-English speaking peoples' abilities to use the transport (Kaufman et al. 2012). It was also found that during all phases of the disaster seeking for information is a way to satisfy a need to take action which allows an individual to feel in control of the situation. This is specifically the case in cultures that promotes self-empowerment (Spence et al. 2015).

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