Chapter 6: The Challenge of Emergency Risk Communication: Lessons Learned in Trust and Risk Communication from the Volcanic Ash Crisis
Sweta Chakraborty 6.1 INTRODUCTION Following the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull on 14 April 2010, the global public was faced with an onslaught of public health and safety risk communications typical of any emergency situation. Risk communications following emergency situations face speciﬁc challenges. These challenges have been addressed through the development of crisis communication paradigms following previous transnational disasters, such as pandemics and terrorists attacks. However, it is evident from analysis of the communications following the volcanic ash crisis that no such empirically founded approach towards emergency risk communication was executed. Rather the communications that were disseminated immediately following the crisis were often contradictory and stemmed from a variety of sources ranging from international organizations to private industry. Public attitudes towards these varying information sources, particularly levels of trust, and the role of the media further complicated risk communications being interpreted by the public as intended, potentially increasing public perceptions of the severity of risk. High perceived risk events rely on effective risk communication as a critical component for effective emergency response. This chapter examines what happened in terms of risk communication following the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull and positions it within existing empirical research related to emergency risk regulation. It examines volcanic ash crisis communication activities in relation to existing disaster management paradigms. It continues on to discuss the role of public perceptions of risk, and more speciﬁcally the implications for trust in effective risk communication. Finally, this chapter concludes with lessons learned from the volcanic ash 80...
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