That resilience is especially critical in the days and weeks after a seismic shock, when damaging aftershocks hinder disaster relief efforts. To address this, a research project led by Edinburgh University is exploring the use of mobile phone technologies to get vital safety information to emergency managers and humanitarian agencies. Drawing on experience from Istanbul and elsewhere, Professor Iain Stewart is part of the team trying to understand how such information can be most effectively conveyed to those operating in crisis situations.
The findings from the current research underline the need for a holistic approach to risk communication that encompasses not just knowledge about the natural hazard but also understanding of the socioeconomics, infrastructure, governance and culture of a community that is affected. Looking forward, it will require fresh inter-disciplinary linkages and the recognition of the importance of engaging with local people to understand what information is actually needed by those who are living with disaster.