The impact of collective and historical memory of past disasters on current citizen perceptions and responses
Filter / Hazards / Natural hazards • Filter / Hazards / Man-made non-intentional hazards or emergency situations • Filter / Hazards / Man-made intentional hazards
Furthermore, the collective and historical memory of past emergency and disaster situations was identified by practitioners as important to citizens’ perception of disasters and how they judge risk and respond to disasters. In particular, practitioners felt that younger generations may learn from older generations’ personal experience of emergencies and disasters: “The experience and historical memory needs to be recognized. Younger people do not have that much experience, and the elder people’s experience and history need to be shared and valued” (G3; R - see source document for full reference), “I think that elderly people are very important, because they have experience and sometimes they help us in the emergency, because they remember what happened in the past” (G6; R7). “It is very important to work on culture, i.e. remembering the events of the past, because often the perception of risk is connected to the occurring of the event. If the event did not happen and did not touch us personally, it is hard to perceive its risk and to adopt behaviours in order to prevent possible damages and consequences. The Department of Civil Protection for years has worked for the emergency planning for the volcanic risk in the Vesuvio and Campi Flegrei area… it came out that citizens who live in the Campi Flegrei area do not have the perception of living on the top of a volcano, but they perceive Vesuvio like a more dangerous volcano. There’s a lack of knowledge of the territory, and we would need a “culture” [collective memory] in this sense, because those events happened 400 years ago – the last important eruption at Campi Flegrei occurred in 1600 – and consequently the memory of what happened does not exist” (G4; R7).