Capturing impacts, experiences, and behaviour during disaster: An online participation and crowdsourcing approach for resilience

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Harrison, Sara

Developing a holistic understanding of social, cultural, and economic impacts of disasters can help in building disaster risk knowledge for policy making and planning. Many methods can help in developing an understanding of the impacts of a disaster, including interviews and surveys with people who have experienced disaster, which may be invasive at times and create stress for the participants to relive their experiences. In the past decade, social media, blog posts, video blogs (i.e. “vlogs”), and crowdsourcing mechanisms such as Humanitarian OpenStreetMap and Ushahidi, have become prominent platforms for people to share their experiences and impacts of an event from the ground.

These platforms allow for the discovery of a range of impact information, from physical impacts, to social, cultural, and psychological impacts. It can also reveal interesting behavioural information such as their decision to heed a warning or not, as people tend to share their experiences and their reactions online. This information can help researchers and authorities understand both the impacts as well as behavioural responses to hazards, which can then shape how early warning systems are designed and delivered. It can also help to identify gaps in desired behavioural responses.

This poster presents a selection of cases identified from the literature and grey literature, such as the Haiti earthquake, the Christchurch earthquake, Hurricane Sandy, and Hurricane Harvey, where online platforms were widely used during and after a disaster to document impacts, experiences, and behavioural responses. A summary of key learnings and areas for future research is provided.

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