Voluntary capacity building in disaster contexts


Capacity building efforts undertaken by the locals are largely be carried out on a voluntary basis. A number of studies show that during the response stage, those affected are keen to share information with the wider public and disaster management authorities and to assist in a practical sense (the wave of large numbers of Syrian refugees migrating to Europe from 2015, for example, sparked widespread philanthropic interest across Europe). Recruiting willing local people to invest their time before an event that may never occur in their lifetime has the potential for problems. The promotion of the act of “volunteering” and philanthropism could be a useful way in which to attract people. In some countries (such as the UK), volunteering has become popular and is supported by the government, with the result that there is a strong infrastructure that provides easy access to a wide range of volunteering opportunities. Such a pre-existing infrastructure is one way in which DMAs could engage actor citizens more easily. Moreover, by emphasizing the importance of helping other people and saving lives through the promotion of volunteering, positive emotions are induced in citizens, which then, in return, contributes to optimizing their risk and disaster behaviour. In other words, the involvement in any kind of preparedness, response or recovery activities should be linked with positive emotions in citizens, which will, then, increase the chance of people involving in those activities.

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