Home > BLOG 5, Crisis Communication > Blog #5: Community Resilience Strategies

Blog #5: Community Resilience Strategies

A disaster can hit a community like a ton of bricks, giving no time for warning and no time for preparation. On the other hand, a disaster can be foreseen and handled with the right type of communication strategies implemented. Norris et al. explains that communication strategies can prepare a community for types of disasters and make them more resilient to future disasters.

The first communication strategy is described as developing economic resources, determining where these resources should be increased, and where they are needed the most. The ability for a community to increase and centralize their economic development around the disaster will increase their resilience to the affects of the disaster. Creating donation opportunities (money, clothes, food etc.) will help unify the community and create a joint effort for them to contribute to the disaster relief. I think that this is the best strategy for resilience. We all know that when disasters hit communities the first two things that become a problem are “when can they rebuild?” and “how will they rebuild?”. I feel that both of these questions are directly influenced by economic resources, which are normally compromised in the times following disaster. Beside Government or State donated funds, most communities are left to rebuild on their own and on their own dollar.

"Teams Unite for Joplin" logo

The second strategy for community resilience is allocating the social capital, or man power. Every person in the community must be willing to help and willing to contribute their resources to the joint effort of moving past the disaster. In the case of Joplin, MO’s devastating tornado this past spring, St. Louis and Kansas City communities were more than willing to lend a hand to the victims. In the case of any disaster, neighboring communities should be willing to help with the resistance and rebuilding stages of coping with the disaster. I felt like this was the most second most important strategy for resilience because it creates a bond between communities and members inside of each community. I must assume that since people in St. Louis and Kansas City know the feelings of dealing with tornado disasters that they felt a connection to the citizens of Joplin. They felt a need to lend their social resources to the citizens because we all have a feeling of unity

Finally, the last strategy that I found to be one of the most important is the fifth strategy Norris et al. mentioned: the strategy of planning. I found this particular strategy to be more important than the third (organizational relationships helping mobilize communities) and the fourth (interventions to protect naturally occuring suppot systems) because the fifth strategy talks about the effort of planning, but on TWO fronts. First, a community should begin planning on how to handle and disaster and how it will maintain stability until the aftermath has subsided. On the other hand, secondly a community must plan to not have a plan. Simply, they must plan for disasters that they did not expect, or certain circumstances in disasters that they were not prepared for. I find this very interesting because it states that a community must be so flexible with their social capital, economic capital, and their physical resources that they are prepared for something unexpected. They must develop communication strategies that are informational and adaptive during the times when their is no certainties.

I feel that all of the communication strategies are helpful in maintaining resilience for a community, but specifically the three that i have highlighted here are the most influential and resourceful for a community faced with disaster.

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