Special Issue on Communicating Hazard and Risk: From Scientific Information to Community Involvement
Naoshi Hirata, Reo Kimura, and Shoji Ohtomo
Earthquake Research Institute,
the University of Tokyo
1-1-1 Yayoi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Graduate School of Human Science and Environment, the University of Hyogo
1-1-12 Shinzaike-honcho, Himeji,
Faculty of Human Sciences,
Konan Women’s University
6-2-23, Morikita-machi, Higashinada-ku,
Kobe, Hyogo, Japan
Hazard and risk researchers are using their research results to target several vastly different stakeholders: the scientific community, governmental institutions, engineers and the larger technical community, companies, and finally the local residents. Each of these groups has a different focus on the results and is drawing different conclusions from them. In this special issue for the Journal of Disaster Research (JDR), we address the problems surrounding hazard and risk communication by asking important questions. How can we communicate hazard and/or risk to the public? How can we involve communities in risk assessment? How can we raise the acceptance of risk models in communities? How can communities be involved in mitigation measures? Finally, how can we explain the inherit uncertainties of hazard and risk assessments? To answer these questions, it is essential to integrate knowledge from the social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering.
As the first step in this effort, we selected seven papers in the present special issue: six are related to the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes in Japan and one to a research in Taiwan. They include studies on hazard and risk estimates before the disaster, risk communication during the earthquake sequence by the Japan Metrological Agency, the psychological and behavioral characteristics of disaster victims, resident evacuation patterns, the recovery process, and risk communication in disaster. The paper of the research in Taiwan addresses the importance of resident involvement to earthquake science for disaster preparedness.