Asian Journal of Water, Environment and Pollution

Community Response to Broadcast Media for Cyclone Warning and Disaster Mitigation: A Perception Study of Coastal People with Special Reference to Meghna Estuary in Bangladesh

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- By: , ,

Courtesy of Asian Journal of Water, Environment and Pollution

Abstract:
Coastal belt and offshore islands of Bangladesh are vulnerable to catastrophic cyclone hazard. The broadcast media - radio and television - play a very important role to disseminate cyclone warning news bulletins to the people living in those areas, and also act to bridge the gap between the decision makers and the public. Information collected from 400 respondents at nine different areas covering the entire coastal belt suggests that peoples?ownership and access to any broadcast media has a positive relationship with their family income level. Poor people have very little access to such media news. Those living in weak/katcha (cottages and mud made) houses give great importance to media announcement. On the other hand, the frequency of experiences with previous cyclones does not show any impact on media access of those people; rather younger generation, of course with higher level of education, gives more importance to media warning signals than elderly people. It has also been attempted to study community response to cyclone shelter centres and their role to disaster mitigation. Information collected from 200 respondents at Meghna estuary suggests that the construction of cyclone shelter centres in recent years along the vulnerable coastal belt has already shown a remarkable positive result to save human lives during a catastrophic cyclone event. However, problems still remain in selecting appropriate locations for the construction of such centres, including insufficient inside space and internal mismanagement. The catastrophic cyclone of April 1991 had made a tremendous change in the human mindset and despite conservative attitudes of local people, particularly among the women, many of them are now mentally prepared to shift to cyclone shelter centres during the hazard.

Keywords:
Broadcast media, disaster mitigation, community response, cyclone centres

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