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  • Citizen science as a catalyst for community resilience building: A two-phase tsunami case study
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Citizen science as a catalyst for community resilience building: A two-phase tsunami case study

Source(s):  Australasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies

This research presents a case study of a two-phased citizen science initiative related to tsunami preparedness and response, undertaken between 2015 and 2016 in Orewa, Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand. Phase One was a citizen-initiated, co-developed survey on tsunami preparedness and intended response. Phase Two was a joint citizen and agency-facilitated tsunami evacuation exercise “Ahead of the Wave”, with science-led data collection on evacuation numbers and timing.

The community survey in Phase One showed that the community had a low understanding of tsunami risk in terms of warning time, an unrealistic expectation of support from authorities, and low awareness of appropriate evacuation actions to take. Phase Two demonstrated that while some schools are located within easy walking distance to tsunami safe zones, others have a longer walk and require quick action to keep their students safe. Overall, these results were used by community leaders and groups to inform further community activities to build awareness of tsunami risk and address misconceptions. In the authors' experience, Phase One was a catalyst for Phase Two and led to ongoing community initiatives within Orewa as well as across Aotearoa New Zealand.

This case study highlights the importance of such catalyst events for resilience building processes. A wider outcome of this initiative will be to develop a community-based framework that provides tools such as community surveys, training, and education. These tools will increase the potential for community-led resilience building for tsunami risk, as well as for risks from other natural hazards.



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  • Citizen science as a catalyst for community resilience building: A two-phase tsunami case study
  • Publication date 2020
  • Author(s) Doyle, Emma E. H.; Lambie, Emily; Orchiston, Caroline et al.
  • Number of pages pp. 23-49

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