GDPC Project

Assistant Professor Chih-Hui Lai launched report on Social Media and Disaster Preparedness in Asia Pacific supported by American Red Cross
Assistant Professor Chih-Hui Lai published a report on the state of social media technologies for disaster preparedness in the Asia Pacific Region. With the adoption of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) such as social media and mobile phones, the role of regular citizens in disaster management becomes more visible and influential as they are active not only in being informed about a disaster but also being involved in information sharing that is needed at pre-disaster and aftermath stages. This calls for humanitarian organizations’ attention in utilizing these technologies and the growing power of collective intelligence in formulating their disaster programs. Nonetheless, knowledge is still limited as to whether and how increasingly prevalent online information behaviours transfer to different aspects of disaster management (e.g., disaster preparedness, mitigation). These inquiries are especially salient for disaster work in the Asia-Pacific region, where several disaster-prone countries (e.g., the Philippines, Indonesia, Japan, and China) are located, and at the same time a relatively high level of new media penetration is seen across the region.
To read the full report, click here.
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State of the Use of Mobile Technologies for Disaster Preparedness in South East Asia.

Asst Prof Sophia Chih-Hui Lai (PI), Assoc Prof Arul Chib (co-PI) and Prof Rich Ling (co-PI) were awarded a $50,000 grant from American Red Cross (under Global Disaster Preparedness Centre, GDPC) on a research project investigating South East Asia mobile communication for disaster preparedness. This is a multi-country project, which entails field data collection from Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines. The report on State of the Use of Mobile Technologies for Disaster Preparedness in South East Asia is available here.

Project Goal and Objectives
In line with GDPC‟s goals for the initiative “Mobile Communication for Preparedness in Southeast Asia,” this project aims to accomplish the following objectives.

  1. Establish effective ways of using mobile technologies to raise public awareness, especially reaching vulnerable population groups, about disaster risks and preparedness, both in terms of the delivery mechanisms and the content of the messages;

  2. Identify mechanisms of how to effectively incorporate mobile technologies in disseminating early warnings of impending danger, especially to vulnerable groups, both in terms of the delivery and the content of the messages;

  3. Provide solutions on how to use mobile technologies to build an integrated and open-access system which allows the public, especially the vulnerable groups, to engage in protective behaviors such as obtaining information about location and availability of preparedness services;

  4. Develop community-specific and country-specific parameters in designing and implementing mobile-enabled awareness and preparedness programs;

  5. Inform the feasible approaches and strategies for the humanitarian sector to develop and leverage the flood hazard preparedness apps in Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, and the Philippines.

The project centres around eight specific research questions:

Research Question (RQ)1: What is the pattern of information seeking about non-routine topics, such as disaster-related information, in the four target countries, and how does that vary by geographic and demographic factors?

RQ2: What is the role of individuals‟ social network inside and outside the community that affects their information seeking about general and disaster-related topics?

RQ3: What is the state of adoption of ICTs in the four target countries and how does that vary by geographic and demographic factors?

RQ4: To what extent is individuals‟ ICT use related to their social networks within and outside the community?

RQ5: In what ways do individuals representing different geographic and demographic backgrounds receive and respond to the disaster-related information similarly or differently and what is the role of online and mobile technologies in this process?

RQ6: How do individuals perceive the disaster risk awareness and preparedness information disseminated by official authorities and humanitarian organizations?

RQ7: How do individuals perceive the risk awareness and preparedness information sent from official authorities and humanitarian organizations via online and mobile media?

RQ8: What are the factors that influence individuals‟ receipt and perceptions of the risk awareness and preparedness information sent from official authorities and humanitarian organizations via online and mobile media?