Each year, natural disasterskill around 90 000 people and impact around 160 million people worldwide.
Natural disasters involve earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, floods, wildfires,heat waves, volcanic eruptions, landslides, and droughts. Natural disastersmostly affect people’s lives immediately and cause physical, biological, andsocial environment damages. Thus, they result in long-term impact on affectedpeople’s health and well being (World Health Organization (WHO), 2017). Thegovernance has an important role in the reduction of the disaster risk.However, countries significantly differ in making sufficient policies to reducedisaster risks (The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR),2014). The aim of the proposed study is to examinereasons of varying disaster agenda of countries in terms of national cultures. Natural Disasters Natural disasters occur when naturalhazards are not efficiently responded by sufficient capacity.
Disaster can becalled only if there is an affected community from a natural hazard. In otherwords, a disaster arises when a hazard and vulnerability encounter. Vulnerabilityis the predisposition to which a society or organization is unable to predict,resist, cope with, and recover from the effects of disasters (WHO, 2002). In many disaster cases, people’s lives dependon the level of vulnerability (Herrmann, 2007). Vulnerability is dividedinto three categories: underlying causes, dynamic pressures, and unsafeconditions. Underlying causes are poverty, limited access to power structuresand resources, ideologies, economic systems, age, sex, and disabilities. Dynamic pressures are lack of localinstitutions, education, training, appropriate skills, local investments, and moreon. Macro forces of dynamic pressures are population expansion, urbanization,and environment degradation.
Unsafe conditions are fragile physical environment(dangerous locations, buildings, etc.), fragile local economy (low levels ofincome and livelihoods at risk), and public actions (WHO, 2002). To decreasevulnerability to disasters, management of natural disasters becomes crucialwithin a local community or a country. Management of natural disasters has beenexamined in four phases: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.Mitigation phase refers to the activities that prevent,eliminate, or reduce the damaging impacts of natural disasters. Theseactivities can be buying insurance, engineering and retrofitting facilities toresist earthquakes, implementing community plans to reduce vulnerability tohazards, and more on. Preparedness phase is defined as planning how to respondto a disaster and increasing resources to response sufficiently.
This phaseincludes development of community training and public awareness, logisticalsupport and communications, basic supply needs, early warning, and monitoring.Preparedness reduces damage when a disaster occurs. The other two phases referto the actions to be taken after the occurrence of a disaster.
Response phase isthe first phase after a disaster occurs. It involves activities to save lives,to provide emergency assistance to victims, and to reduce the probability offurther damage such as rescuing and sheltering victims. Finally, recovery phaseincludes the actions that help to return the area and effected community tonormal or near-normal conditions such as repairing or rebuilding properties.Thereby, management of natural disasters overall helps to create safer communitiesby decreasing potential loss of life, reducing property damage, and increasinglong-lasting recovery (Herrmann, 2007; Martin,2004; WHO, 2002).
DisasterRisk IndexIn the disastermanagement, pre-disaster phases, mitigation and preparedness, are riskreduction phases that reduce vulnerability to disasters (WHO, 2002). In 2004, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has released areport to help countries and stakeholders to coherently decrease vulnerabilityto disasters. This report presents a pioneering Disaster Risk Index (DRI) thatis the first global level assessment of natural disaster risk.
The DRI examines the relative vulnerability of countries to threeimportant natural hazards: earthquake, tropical cyclone, and flood. The DRIclassifies vulnerability indicators that contribute to disaster risk andpresents how the impacts of disasters can be either decreased or increased bypolicy decisions. It is expected that the DRI will be useful to encourage developmentpolicies and practices that contribute to reduction of disaster risk. In the DRI, vulnerability is examined to show why, with a given level of physical exposure, peopleare more or less at disaster risk. Because physical exposure to a hazardis not sufficient to explain disaster risk. Countries with similar levels ofphysical exposure to a same hazard have varying levels of disaster risk. Vulnerabilityvariables are classified as economic (e.
g., lack of reserves, low assetlevels), social (e.g., the absence of social support mechanisms, weak socialorganization), technical (e.g., poorly constructed and unsafe housing), andenvironmental (e.g., the fragility of ecosystems).
Variables that might reducevulnerability are also identified such as appropriate development and urbanplanning, appropriate disaster preparedness, and early warning systems. Tocalculate the relative vulnerability of a country to a given natural hazard, thenumber of people killed divided by the number of people exposed. The included yearsto the data were 1980-2000. The relative vulnerability to the hazard getshigher when more people are killed to the degree the number exposed (UNDP, 2004).
Also, in the DRI, vulnerability variables areanalyzed for each of three hazard types to decide vulnerability indicators thatwere most related with risk for each hazard type. For the earthquakes, rapidurban growth has been found as the most related vulnerability indicator. In arapid urban growth situation, if earthquakerisk considerations were not implemented to the buildings and planning process,vulnerability increased. For the tropical cyclone, high percentage of arableland was the most related indicator. Additionally, for the flood, the mostrelated indicators were low gross domestic product per capita and low localdensity of population. The analyses showed two important vulnerabilityvariables addition to the high physical exposure: unplanned urbanization andrural livelihoods.
Overall, it was stated that governance has a cross-cuttinginfluence on disaster vulnerability because governancehas power to make all the policy decisions regarding disaster management.It was emphasized that the failures in all vulnerability indicators, such asurban planning and building regulation, can be described as governance failures(UNDP, 2004). Ideally, good governance shouldreinforce all the policy alternatives to manage and decrease disaster risk.Thus, successful decrease in disaster vulnerability depends on governanceinnovation (Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft, 2017; UNISDR, 2014). Governance in disaster riskreduction The term “governance” refers to the actors, structures, andprocesses that lead to make collective binding decisions (Vab Asselt , 2011). Governance includes decision-making processes to formulate natural disaster risk reduction policies and planning.Also, it is a policy implementation system.
To reduce disaster vulnerability, thesegovernment actions can be functioning enforcement of building codes, land-useplanning, environmental risk and human vulnerability monitoring, and safety standards(Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft, 2017; UNDP, 1997). Forinstance, the earthquake disaster of Turkey in 1999 had a magnitude of 7.6 andresulted in more than 17,000 deaths.
This disaster showed that the lack ofenforcement of building codes was an important reason for increased physicalvulnerability (e.g., Bruneau, 2002; Özerdem,2003). Also, in the DRI, Turkey was identified ashaving high relative vulnerability to earthquakes (UNDP, 2004). Contrary, Cuba has been classified as having very lowrelative vulnerability to tropical cyclones, despite having high physicalexposure to this hazard (UNDP, 2004). This situation is explained with Cubanpolitical and policy orientations and disaster preparedness work.
Hence, policy decisions and implementations have a vital rolein disaster vulnerability reduction and preparedness (Aguirre, 2005; UNDP, 2004). Addition to governance role in decisionmaking in disaster policies, civil societies and private sectors that are animportant governance actors play an active role in forming the disaster riskagenda (UNDP, 2004). Decision Making in DisasterPolicy Across Countries The topic of decision making isshared by many domains, such as statistics, economics, political sciences,health, and psychology, due to the nature of the topic (e.g., Thaler, 2015). Decisionmaking process mostly includes decisions that are made under uncertainty andrisk.
A widely known theory, Prospect Theory, on decision making process ofindividuals describes and predicts decision-making in situations of uncertainty(Kahneman & Tversky, 1984; Tversky& Kahnemann, 2002). One of the important decision domains is the safety. Decision-makingprocesses for disaster policies are also those that are made under uncertaintyto increase the safety of a society, and multiple actors in a country makethese collective binding decisions (Vab Asselt & Renn, 2011). Policy makingalso referred to a top-level decision making in an organization (Jones, 2008).
As countries significantly differin making policies to reduce disaster risks, one of the important questionsmight be that what are the fundamental issues that change from countries tocountries about making policy decisions under both uncertainty and huge risk. Whichdimensions can impact the choices of policies in the governance level? There arehypotheses about political choices in the individual level (e.g.
, Lodge & Taber 2000). For instance, Lucas and Molden (2011) explainedpredictors of public policy attitudes as prevention and promotion needs.Accordingly, political preferences of individuals depended either concern withneed for security (prevention) or concern with need for growth (promotion).Prevention needs were associated with the choices of government intervention tomaintain personal and public safety. However, promotion needs were associatedwith the choices of government intervention to seek opportunities for growth.
Additionally,prevention focus individuals preferred status qua while promotion focusedindividuals preferred changes (e.g., Boldero & Higgins, 2011). In the disaster policy makingprocess, one of the most emphasized issues has been the relation betweendisaster risk reduction and development planning to improve disasterpreparedness. In other words, the development planning of countries shouldinclude disaster management legislation.
This should include reforms andinnovations in policy making and enforcement. This would also lead to encouragegovernments to take account of disaster risk in their decision making. Moreover,the agenda of countries should be long-term management of disaster risk withinsustainable development. Thus, disaster policy making includes innovation, seekingopportunities to growth, and to build a culture of safety (Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft,2017; UNDP,2004; UNISDR, 2014).Referring to the policy choices in theindividual level (Lucas & Molden, 2011), policies choices in thegovernance level require promotion focus with the need for growth anddevelopment. The next question addition tothe above questions might be that which dimensions might affect governance tomake these innovative policies and focus development? One of the explanationsmight be cultural difference. Decision making processes of individuals havebeen widely studied in the cross-cultural literature, and these studies have showedthat culture of individuals have a significant influence on their decisionmaking processes and value of their choices (e.
g., Cohn, Schatz, Freeman, & Combs, 2016; Podrug, 2011). However,little is known about the impacts of national culture on disaster policy choicesin the governance level. One of thewidely known dimensions of natural culture is Hofstede’s dimensions of nationalculture: power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism versuscollectivism, masculinity versus feminity, long-term orientation, andindulgence. These dimensions have been applied to many domains to understandcultures values in those domains (e.g.
, Hofstede, 2017;Hofstede, 1980). These cultural dimensions have been also studied in decisionmaking and natural disasters. For instance, Podrug (2011) examined theinfluence of natural culture on decision making style between Croatia,Slovenia, and Hungary to help international business to understand culturalbackgrounds. Moreover, Oishi and Komiya (2017)stated that countries with higher levels of natural disaster risk weremore collectivistic than those with lower risk. Hofstede’s long-term orientationdimension of national culture were studied in the global warming policy agendaand showed that long-term orientated nations had less carbon emissions for thesame level of economic output (Disli, Ng, , 2016). Long-term orientation might be also related with disasterpolicy choices in the governance level because this dimension focuses on change,growth, and long-term goals. In a long-time-oriented culture, “the basic notionabout the world is that it is in flux, and preparing for the future is alwaysneeded.
In a short-time-oriented culture, the world is essentially as it wascreated, so that the past provides a moral compass, and adhering to it ismorally good.” (Hofstede, 2017). Valuesrelated with long-term orientation are thrift, perseverance and adapting tochanging circumstances, while values related with short-term orientation arerespect for tradition, national pride, and fulfilling social obligations. Inlong-term oriented cultures, actions are motivated by long-term goals andoutcomes, rather than short-term outcomes. Short-term oriented cultures may notgive importance to the future impacts of their current decisions, whilelong-term oriented cultures may prefer to sacrifice now for future profits.Nations with long-term orientation have available funds for investment;however, short-term orientated nations have little funds for investment.
Inpoor countries, economic growth is faster in long-term orientated culturescompared to those with short-term orientated (Hofstede & Minkov, 2010). As disaster policy making includesinnovation and seeking opportunities to growth, disaster preparedness might be inthe agenda of long-term oriented nations more than those with short-termorientation. Proposed Study Theaim of the proposed study is to understand how differences in national cultureimpact disaster agenda of nations and disaster vulnerability. Disaster policiesare made to increase preparedness and decrease vulnerability to disasters, and higherlevels of disaster preparedness are associated with strong policies (Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft, 2017; UNDP, 2004; UNISDR, 2014).
Thus, countries’ levels of disasterspreparedness will be included as an indicator of disaster policies and agenda. Disaster vulnerability scores of countries will be includedas outcomes of disaster preparedness. The analysis will include earthquakedisasters as one of the most important natural disasters (UNDP, 2004). Also, long-term orientation dimension of national culturewill be included to examine the impact of national culture on disasterpreparedness. It is predicted that disasterpreparedness will be in the agenda of long-term oriented countries more thanthose with short-term orientation because disaster policy making includesinnovation, seeking opportunities to growth, and long-term agenda of reform. Countries with high long-term orientation will have higher preparedness and lower relative earthquakevulnerability.
Countries with short-term orientation will have lower preparedness and higher relative earthquakevulnerability. In other words, countries with higher levels of preparedness will be morelong-term orientated than those with lower levels of preparedness. It is also expected that long-term orientation scoreswill lead to earthquake vulnerability through hazard preparedness.
MethodDatabases The data will include three variables for each country:long-term orientation scores, preparedness scores, and relative vulnerabilityscores for earthquakes. The data for the proposed study will be takenfrom three databases. Long-term orientation scores will be taken from Hofstede’s dimensions of national culture database (2015). Preparednessscores will be taken from World HealthOrganization (2017), and relative vulnerability scores for theearthquakes will be taken from the DRI of United Nations Development Programme (2004). Hofstede’sdimensions of national culture database.
Hofstede (1991) presented this dimension as afifth dimension of differences between national societies. Long-termorientation scores refers to the development in a society of pragmatic virtuesoriented to future rewards, in particular perseverance, thrift, and adapting tochanging circumstances. On the other hand, short-term orientation refers to thedevelopment in a society of virtues related to the past and the present, suchas national pride, respect for tradition, and fulfilling social obligations.
The position of societies relative to each other is described as a long-termorientation index score. These values are plotted on a scale from 0 to 100. Ahigher score indicates more long-term orientation, and the lower scoreindicates more short-term orientation (see Hofstede & Minkov, 2010, for the dimensiondata analyses). The database includes 96 countries (Hofstede, 2015).DisasterRisk Index of United Nations Development Programme. This index measuresthe relative vulnerability of countries to earthquakes and examines the factorsthat contribute to disaster risk. The index is based on calibrated data from1980 to 2000. The relative vulnerability of a country to earthquake wascalculated by dividing the number of people killed by the number exposed(killed per million exposed).
A higher score shows more relative vulnerabilityto earthquakes. This vulnerability index includes 50 countries (see UNDP, 2004,forstatistical workundertaken in the development of the DRI). PreparednessScores.
According to International Health Regulations (2005) monitoringframework, preparedness score of a country is one of the core capacities indicatinghealth system resources of that country (WHO,2017). Preparedness scores ofcountries will be taken from WHO (2017). Preparedness includes the developmentof emergency response plans for hazards, the identification of availableresources, mapping of potential hazard sites, the development of appropriatestocks of resources, and more on.
Hazards included in this data set are notonly natural hazards but also biological,chemical, radiological, and nuclear hazards (see WHO, 2011, for detailed rationale,method, and data analysis). The dataset includes scores for seven years (2010-2016). Preparedness scoresfor 2010 will be included to the current analysis to measure a close year to theDRI. Ahigher score indicates more preparedness to disasters. The database includes 116countries for 2010. Design Countries presented in all databases will beselected, and others will be extracted from the present study data.
Thus, therewill be no missing data during the analysis. A mediation analysis will be conducted. Long-term orientation scores will be included theanalysis as a predictor. Earthquakevulnerability scores of countries will be included as an outcome. Countries’hazard preparedness scores will be included the analysis as an interveningvariable. ResultsAnalysis It is predicted that long-term orientationscores will lead to earthquake vulnerability through hazard preparedness. Totest whether countries’hazard preparedness scores mediate the effect oflong-term orientation scores on earthquake vulnerability, a mediation analysiswill be conducted using a SPSS macro that was developed by Preacher and Hayes(2004).
5000 bootstrapping will be used to run mediation analysis. A correlation analysis will be conducted to examinerelations of variables via SPSS as well. It is expected that the long-term orientationand earthquake vulnerability will be negatively correlated. The long-termorientation and hazard preparedness will be positively correlated.
Earthquakevulnerability will be negatively correlated with hazard preparedness. The mediation effect of hazardpreparedness on the relation of the long-term orientation and earthquakevulnerability will be significant. Also, it is predicted that long-termorientation will remain as a significant predictor of earthquake vulnerabilitywhen hazard preparedness is controlled. Thus, countries with higher hazardpreparedness scores will be associated with lower levels of the relativevulnerability. Countries with high long-term orientation scores will be relatedwith lower levels of the relative vulnerability and higher levels of hazardpreparedness.DiscussionCountries’ failures invulnerability to disasters have been attributed to the lackof sufficient policy decisions regarding disaster management (e.
g.,UNISDR, 2014). As countries significantly differ in making policies to reducedisaster risks, the aim of the proposed study is to understand reasons of varying disaster agenda of nations. It is arguedthat national cultures might play a role explaining these differences inthe choices of policies. As disaster policy making requires innovation and growth, itis expected that disaster preparedness will be in the agenda of long-termoriented nations more than those with short-term orientation. Hence, theoutcome of the higher preparedness will be the lower vulnerability to thedisasters. As high vulnerability todisasters has been explained with the lack of disaster policies, there has beeninternational acts to increase these policy decisions and thereby preparednessto the disasters (e.g.
, UNISDR, 2014). Understandinghow differences in national culture impact disaster agenda might lead to moreefficient interventions and developmental planning specific to the eachcountry. These interventions might also aim to build safety culture specific tothe each country.
If thehypotheses are supported by findings, this research might be useful in otherareas as well. For instance, disaster preparedness and disaster agenda can beused as indicators of other hazards such as technological hazards and cyberattacks. Countrieswith the same level of economic growth and exposure to cyber attacks might havevarying levels of vulnerability. Short-term orientated nations might tend to not makesufficient policies on cyber security compared to long-term orientated nations.Researchers might need to develop different strategies for each country toconvince stakeholders about the importance of the issue and to have availablefuns for cyber security.