Inderscience Publishers

Enabling the disabled: media use and communication needs of people with disabilities during and after the Sichuan earthquake in China

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The importance of effective communications in extreme emergency situations, such as earthquakes, is widely recognised (Lee, 2008), whether the communications relate to disaster preparedness, response or recovery. More problematic is the connection between disaster communications and the situation of people with disabilities in emergency situations. In times of crisis, do the communication needs of people with disabilities differ from those of the wider population? This study aims to understand the use of media and risk communication situation before, during and after the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan province in China, with a special focus on the experiences of people with disabilities. The analysis includes recommendations for best practices.

Keywords: media use, communication need, disabled people, disabilities, China, Sichuan earthquake, emergency communications, emergency management, disaster communications

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