Natural Hazards

, Volume 97, Issue 2, pp 643–664 | Cite as

Perceptions of earthquake emergency response and rescue in China: a comparison between experts and local practitioners

  • Yan DengEmail author
  • Guiwu Su
  • Na Gao
  • Lei Sun
Original Paper


By using a questionnaire survey and performing a case study in the Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, this study examined the similarities and differences between the perceptions of local practitioners and the perceptions of experts regarding the priority of the factors affecting earthquake emergency response and rescue at the county level in China. The results show that the perceptions of the most and the least important factors are similar between the two groups, except for the factors that affect special abilities. However, one first-level factor, i.e., environmental conditions, and 16 second-level factors, e.g., influence of ethnic cultures, professional rescue teams, GDP level and historical earthquake disaster experience, significantly differed. The local realities of the natural geography, socioeconomic conditions (e.g., economic level, education and ethnic), earthquake experiences and knowledge form the perception of local practitioners, whereas the experts’ perceptions are more consistent with their social role, emergency experiences and knowledge, especially in disaster-prone areas, influencing the differences between the two groups. Suggestions regarding the incorporation local perceptions into the development of local emergency capabilities rather than merely following the perception of experts are discussed.


Earthquake emergency response and rescue Experts Local practitioners Perception of capacities Qinghai-Tibet Plateau 



This work was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (No. 2018YFC1504503) and an international collaboration project of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41661134013) that belongs to a UK-China collaboration program “Increasing Resilience to Natural Hazards in Earthquake-Prone Regions in China (IRNHiC).” The authors thank Ning Lu of the Qinghai Earthquake Agency for his help with the questionnaire survey and data collection. The authors express their appreciation to the editor and reviewers for their comments and suggestions, which greatly improved the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of GeologyChina Earthquake AdministrationBeijingChina
  2. 2.National Earthquake Response Support ServiceMinistry of Emergency Management of the People’s Republic of ChinaBeijingChina
  3. 3.Center for Crisis Management Research, School of Public Policy and ManagementTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina

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