, Volume 56, Issue 3, pp 633-648
Date: 18 Aug 2010

Risk perception and hazard mitigation in the Yangtze River Delta region, China

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Abstract

The Yangtze River Delta region is an area highly vulnerable to flooding. As the population density is rising concomitantly with high economic growth, this region is becoming more vulnerable to natural hazards. We conducted a survey to investigate the individual risk perception of both the local authorities and the general community, analyze the current situation regarding risk management and identify problems in the current risk management scheme. Data were collected through questionnaires distributed to some members of the community and interviews with representatives of the local authorities. The primary findings are as follows: (1) risk and disaster multipliers perceived by lay people show the stigma effect of the Wenchuan earthquake; (2) the responses of college students illustrate that the stigma effect has less influence on people who have more knowledge about hazards; (3) differences exist in comparative groups (China and USA), which shows that the society and culture influence people’s perception of risk; and (4) economic activities have complicated flood risk management such as land shortage, ground subsidence and flood diversion. Accordingly, the following measures should be taken: (1) the government should improve the risk communication and education of lay people; (2) the government must also control unsuitable land use and balance economic development and risk management; (3) flood diversion areas should be compensated through special funds collected from other cities; and (4) local governments should provide more support for hazard mitigation.