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Linking risk perception, adaptation and evacuation behavior

Authors: Samuel Rufat*,
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Hazards and Vulnerability, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: disaster, vulnerability, hazards, risk, perception, behavior
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Whilst most United Nations programs aim to foster public engagement and community participation in disaster preparedness, recovery and adaptation, we only have a fragmented understanding of risk perception and behavior drivers. Although the behavior of individuals before, during, and after a disaster can dramatically affect impact and recovery time, human behavior and risk perception are inherently difficult to quantify and predict. And while risk perception impacts behavior, it currently remains even harder to understand how interconnected they are. Moreover, cross-disciplinary challenges and uncertainty are also hindering the learning from experience process around risk perception and behavior. It is still challenging to understand which factors (such as previous hazard experience, income, education, vulnerability and/or exclusion) drive risk perception in a specific area or among specific groups. It is equally challenging to appreciate how these factors influence households’ or individuals’ choices to take precautionary, risk reduction or adaptation measures, or the non actions that may exacerbate the risk, as well as the trigger of the evacuation decision, or even the refusal to evacuate. Such a knowledge gap makes it an uphill battle to develop a scientific evidence-based message from science to local stakeholders. This contribution is based on a spatially explicit stratified survey of risk perception and individual behavior after the 2016 and 2018 floods in the Paris metropolitan area in France. By mapping the geographic variation in risk perceptions, adaptation and evacuation behaviors, it aims to inform resilience policy and decision-making.

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