Rethinking Crisis Communication at a Time of Climate Change: Lessons from the Philippines
The Philippines is visited by an average of 20 typhoons a year. Hence, whenever one such disaster occurs, crisis communication should be more or less a standard procedure. The weather bureau, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), initiates information dissemination to the weather bureau which contacts their local stations who then coordinate with the local media, local government units, and other local entities. So, when typhoon Haiyan entered the Philippines area of responsibility in November 2013, the weather bureau provided all the necessary warnings and connected with the necessary agencies. However, the typhoon caught the country by surprise. Around 13 million people across the Visayas region were affected. More than 6300 persons perished in the typhoon, while 1031 were declared missing. Damage to property was estimated at USD 2.86 billion. The chapter, in light of this disaster, aims to rethink crisis communication at a time of climate change. It is expected that greater numbers of super typhoons will hit the country and that the usual information dissemination flow process is no longer enough to lessen their impacts. The chapter argues that crisis communication needs to be rethought in the context of climate change, and lessons can be learnt from the experience of the Philippines. In particular, crisis communication should focus more on: creating messages attuned toward the social construction of disasters; promoting dialogues rather than simply disseminating information; incorporating new media as part of the media mix; utilizing a community-based information flow parallel to the traditional top-to-bottom approach.
KeywordsClimate change Haiyan super typhoon Weather information Crisis communication in Philippines
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