Cultural Factors and Disaster Risk

Discussion 2: Cultural Factors and Disaster Risk

Recall from the week’s Introduction that similar disasters may have dissimilar impacts in other countries. Why is this so? For one, developed countries usually have sturdier structures that better protect occupants but are significantly more expensive to rebuild. As mentioned, some countries might have similar building codes, but the codes are poorly enforced. In some cases inspectors are even paid off to approve an inspection.

Sociologists and anthropologists have noticed that a disproportionate number of women died in the 2005 Indonesian tsunami due in part to various cultural factors. Many men commuted inland to work while women stayed home, close to the shore. In the Indonesian culture it is considered improper for women to wear swimsuits; thus, learning to swim may not have been an option. Even if the women did know how to swim, the traditional dress worn by many women may have severely restricted their movement in the water.

For this Discussion, select a country (not the United States) and examine cultural factors that might impact risks associated with disasters. Then consider how these factors could be integrated into a mitigation and preparedness system for that country.

With these thoughts in mind:

Post a brief description of the country you selected. Then explain how cultural factors in that country might contribute to increased risks associated with a disaster. Finally, explain how you, as an emergency manager, might integrate this information into a mitigation and preparedness system for that country.

Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources and the current literature.

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