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Cultural factors in livestock emergency management
This paper considers the following questions:
- How do cultural (incl. psychological) factors play a role in evacuation reluctance prior to and during volcanic eruptions and what do they mean in terms of risk perceptions and assessments, and people and animal evacuation?
- How can livestock emergency preparedness (and reconstruction) programs be designed and implemented in a culturally sensitive manner?
Despite the institutionalisation of volcanic eruption early warning and response systems, casualties are still seen among local farmers who are reluctant to evacuate. Farmers may also prematurely return to their farms to save livelihoods and take care of animals. Case studies and media reports show the importance of understanding the cultural beliefs of residents when developing emergency plans.
Taking an interdisciplinary phenomenological approach, this study shows that cultural factors, including the meaning of livestock and livelihood, play a role in evacuation reluctance. In a people-oriented and culture-sensitive approach, one should be aware that emergency planners view situations as problems and they have been trained to analyse and solve them. By working in multidisciplinary teams, the scope broadens. However, looking through a culturally sensitive lens allows seeing the context. Culture sets the context of communities and also of emergency planners, government bodies and non-government organisations. In addition, women and men have different viewpoints. In a people-oriented approach this should be considered as women, men, young, old, disabled and poor are not equally vulnerable in crises situations. Therefore, it is vital to have female and male scientists, policy makers, communication experts, authorities and activists working together and with communities to better manage disaster events.