Natural Hazards

, Volume 89, Issue 3, pp 1343–1368 | Cite as

Evaluation of community leaders’ perception regarding Alerta Rio, the warning system for landslides caused by heavy rains in Rio de Janeiro

  • Patricia de Oliveira Melo
  • Renata Marques de Britto
  • Tharcisio Cotta Fontainha
  • Adriana LeirasEmail author
  • Renata Albergaria de Mello Bandeira
Original Paper


Warning systems help reduce damage and save lives in disasters; however, there is a lack of research analyzing the population perception of these systems. In Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), because the city slums face the risk of landslides caused by heavy rains, a siren early warning system named “Alerta Rio” was installed in 102 areas. The purpose of this paper was to understand the perception of community leaders regarding this alert system. To this end, a survey was conducted with community leaders to collect data on whether and why the public do or do not attend to the alert. Results indicated that (1) public adherence to Alerta Rio is low despite the generally positive view of the system, (2) local violence was reported as the reason for staying at home to protect one’s property, and (3) problems with temporary shelters and the routes to them result in lack of people’s involvement in the system. Whereas these factors are similar to population perception regarding other warning systems, the community leaders also raised the public’s lack of trust in the city hall’s adopted concept of risk and in the politicians as a relevant factor in the population perception of Alerta Rio. These factors, together with the lack of prevention policies complementary with the alert system, led to perception of reduced importance of the system. For potential solutions to enhance alarm compliance, this study recommends improvement in communication, educational programs, and public engagement strategies tailored for each target group.


Alert system Landslides Population perception Disaster 



Funding was provided by Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (Grant No. 88887091739/2014-01), Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (Grant Nos. 311723/2013-6, 141130/2014-8, 477087/2013-2), and Fundação Carlos Chagas Filho de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (Grant Nos. 110149/2014, 210325/2014, 203051/2015, 203.178/2016).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia de Oliveira Melo
    • 1
  • Renata Marques de Britto
    • 1
  • Tharcisio Cotta Fontainha
    • 1
  • Adriana Leiras
    • 1
    Email author
  • Renata Albergaria de Mello Bandeira
    • 2
  1. 1.Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio)Rio de JaneiroBrazil
  2. 2.Instituto Militar de EngenhariaRio de JaneiroBrazil

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