Sociocultural Factors in Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Teams of Central America and the Caribbean
Amaly Fong Lee*, and Adan Vega Saenz**
*Isthmus Bureau of Shipping (ClassIBS)
Panama City, Panama
**Panama Maritime Authority, Panama City, Panama
Central America and the Caribbean islands are among the regions most exposed to socio-natural threats due to numerous underlying risk factors, such as poverty, inadequate management of natural resources, drug trafficking, illegal immigration, and urban conglomeration, which particularly influence sociocultural factors. This region is also characterized by widespread cultural diversity, sizable indigenous regions, and various ethnic groups, as well as social and cultural characteristics that cannot be compared to each other. Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams intervene directly within the environment described above to perform rescue operations for people in situations that entail some damage to the surrounding infrastructure or environment. These teams comprise highly-trained specialists with technical knowledge. However, in some cases, these teams may face disadvantages due to their lack of knowledge regarding the sociocultural components, which would allow them to develop an understanding of human behavior in a broader sense. In the current paper, we provide a detailed examination of the sociocultural factors that significantly impact the success or failure of operations led by USAR teams in the Central American and Caribbean communities. To reduce the high losses caused by disasters in the region and inequity in the missions of these teams, we conclude that increased attention should be directed toward sociocultural components in the work of rescuers.
-  G. A. Cardona and J. M. Calderon, “Robot Swarm Navigation and Victim Detection Using Rendezvous Consensus in Search and Rescue Operations,” Applied Sciences, Vol.9, No.8, Article No.1702, 2019.
-  S. Appleby-Arnold et al., “Applying Cultural Values to Encourage Disaster Preparedness: Lessons from a Low-Hazard Country,” Int. J. of Disaster Risk Reduction, Vol.31, pp. 37-44, 2018.
-  Y. Fukuda, “Three-Dimensional Measurement for Revitalization of Intangible Cultural Properties After Disasters,” J. Disaster Res., Vol.14, No.9, pp. 1329-1335, 2019.
-  A. Bonazza et al., “Safeguarding Cultural Heritage from Natural and Man-Made Disasters: A Comparative Analysis of Risk Management in the EU,” European Union, 2018.
-  N. Khoeriyah, W. Warto, and S. Sariyatun, “Exploring the Interpretation of Cultural Values in Babad Banyumas Manuscript as a Means to Understanding Banyumas Society,” Int. J. of Multicultural and Multireligious Understanding, Vol.5, No.4, pp. 96-107, 2018.
-  J. L. Miller and G. Pescaroli, “Psychosocial Capacity Building in Response to Cascading Disasters: A Culturally Informed Approach,” Int. J. of Disaster Risk Reduction, Vol.30, Part B, pp. 164-171, 2018.
-  A. Adeagbo et al., “Effects of Natural Disasters on Social and Economic Well Being: A Study in Nigeria,” Int. J. of Disaster Risk Reduction, Vol.17, pp. 1-12, 2016.
-  M. Ebara et al., “Research on Pre-Modern Earthquakes Based on Fusion of Humanities and Sciences,” J. Disaster Res., Vol.15, No.2, pp. 76-86, 2020.
-  C. Monteil, P. Simmons, and A. Hicks, “Post-Disaster Recovery and Sociocultural Change: Rethinking Social Capital Development for the New Social Fabric,” Int. J. of Disaster Risk Reduction, Vol.42, Article No.101356, 2020.
-  J. Dekens, “Socio-Cultural Engagement and Sensitivity in Disaster Risk Reduction,” International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), 2009.
-  L. J. Kirmayer et al., “Trauma and Disasters in Social and Cultural Context,” C. Morgan and D. Bhugra (Eds.), “Principles of Social Psychiatry,” 2nd Edition, pp. 155-177, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., 2010.
-  P. D. Hopkins and N. J. Shook, “A Review of Sociocultural Factors That May Underlie Differences in African American and European American Anxiety,” J. of Anxiety Disorders, Vol.49, pp. 104-113, 2017.
-  C. R. Gravelin, M. Biernat, and C. E. Bucher, “Blaming the Victim of Acquaintance Rape: Individual, Situational, and Sociocultural Factors,” Frontiers in Psychology, Vol.9, Article No.2422, 2019.
-  N. Anyiwo et al., “Sociocultural Influences on the Sociopolitical Development of African American Youth,” Child Development Perspectives, Vol.12, No.3, pp. 165-170, 2018.
-  T. N. Brockie, J. H. L. Elm, and M. L. Walls, “Examining Protective and Buffering Associations Between Sociocultural Factors and Adverse Childhood Experiences Among American Indian Adults with Type 2 Diabetes: A Quantitative, Community-Based Participatory Research Approach,” BMJ Open, Vol.8, No.9, Article No.e022265, 2018.
-  K. Moran, J. Webber, and T. Stanley, “The 4Rs of Aquatic Rescue: Educating the Public About Safety and Risks of Bystander Rescue,” Int. J. of Injury Control and Safety Promotion, Vol.24, No.3, pp. 396-405, 2017.
-  M. Statheropoulos et al., “Factors That Affect Rescue Time in Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Operations,” Natural Hazards, Vol.75, No.1, pp. 57-69, 2015.
-  C. Harris et al., “Expanding Understanding of Response Roles: An Examination of Immediate and First Responders in the United States,” Int. J. of Environmental Research and Public Health, Vol.15, No.3, Article No.534, 2018.
-  J. Twigg and E. Lovell, “Self-Recovery from Disasters: An Interdisciplinary Perspective,” Overseas Development Institute (ODI) Working Paper 523, 2017.
-  F. Roth and T. Prior, “Volunteerism in Disaster Management – Opportunities, Challenges and Instruments for Improvement,” Risk and Resilience Report, Center for Security Studies (CSS), ETH Zürich, 2019.
-  R. Simsa et al., “Spontaneous Volunteering in Social Crises: Self-Organization and Coordination,” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Vol.48, No.2_suppl, pp. 103S-122S, 2019.
-  Y. Okita et al., “Capacity Building of International Search and Rescue Teams Through the Classification System: Example from the Japan Disaster Relief Team and the INSARAG External Classification and Reclassification,” J. of Japan Association for Earthquake Engineering, Vol.18, No.4, pp. 4_55-4_74, 2018.
-  Y. Okita and R. Shaw, “Search and Rescue Team Classification: BASARNAS of Indonesia,” Australian J. of Emergency Management, Vol.35, No.2, pp. 73-79, 2020.
-  T. Ludwig et al., “Situated Crowdsourcing During Disasters: Managing the Tasks of Spontaneous Volunteers Through Public Displays,” Int. J. of Human-Computer Studies, Vol.102, pp. 103-121, 2017.
-  S. Hansson et al., “Communication-Related Vulnerability to Disasters: A Heuristic Framework,” Int. J. of Disaster Risk Reduction, Vol.51, Article No.101931, 2020.
-  J. Hernández González and N. M. Reséndiz García, “La construcción sociocultural de las habilidades digitales en el bachillerato: De la interacción cotidiana al estudio (The Sociocultural Construction of Digital Skills in High School: From Daily Interaction to Study),” Revista mexicana de investigación educativa, Vol.22, No.73, pp. 421-444, 2017 (in Spanish).
-  A. Dongo, “Significado de los factores sociales y culturales en el desarrollo cognitivo (Meaning of Social and Cultural Factors in Cognitive Development),” Revista de investigación en psicología, Vol.12, No.2, pp. 227-237, 2009 (in Spanish).
-  J. N. Pérez-García, “Situación de la gestión del riesgo de desastres en Centroamérica (Situation of Disaster Risk Management in Central America),” Repertorio científico, Vol.23, No.2, pp. 112-119, 2020 (in Spanish).
-  A. Maria et al., “Estudio de la urbanización en Centroamérica: Opportunidaces de una Centroamérica urbana (Study of Urbanization in Central America: Opportunities of an Urban Central America),” Banco Mundial, 2018 (in Spanish).
-  H. Baytiyeh, “Socio-Cultural Characteristics: The Missing Factor in Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy in Sectarian Divided Societies,” Int. J. of Disaster Risk Reduction, Vol.21, pp. 63-69, 2017.
-  P. Cuttitta, “Repoliticization Through Search and Rescue? Humanitarian NGOs and Migration Management in the Central Mediterranean,” Geopolitics, Vol.23, No.3, pp. 632-660, 2018.
-  S. Gandolfi et al., “Rio Soliette (Haiti): An International Initiative for Flood-Hazard Assessment and Mitigation,” The Int. Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences, Vol.XL-5/W3, pp. 159-165, 2013.
-  K. Huang et al., “Modeling Multiple Humanitarian Objectives in Emergency Response to Large-Scale Disasters,” Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Vol.75, pp. 1-17, 2015.
-  J. Ghurye, G. Krings, and V. Frias-Martinez, “A Framework to Model Human Behavior at Large Scale During Natural Disasters,” Proc. of the 2016 17th IEEE Int. Conf. on Mobile Data Management (MDM), pp. 18-27, 2016.
-  J. Twigg and I. Mosel, “Emergent Groups and Spontaneous Volunteers in Urban Disaster Response,” Environment and Urbanization, Vol.29, No.2, pp. 443-458, 2017.
-  A. Schmidt, “Tensions and Dilemmas in Crisis Governance: Responding to Citizen Volunteers,” Administration & Society, Vol.51, No.7, pp. 1171-1195, 2019.
-  D. Auferbauer and H. Tellioğlu, “Socio-Technical Dynamics: Cooperation of Emergent and Established Organisations in Crises and Disasters,” Proc. of the 2019 CHI Conf. on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI’19), Paper No.218, 2019.
This article is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.