Targeting Communication in Disasters

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Quick Facts

Publishing Organisation:
University College Copenhagen and University of Copenhagen
Primary Target Country:
Covers Thematic
  • Community management Community Management in Social Media is the active component of interacting with your community of followers, fans and target audience across your social media platforms. This includes active listening, which is an important element of engaging with your followers to understand their wants and needs regarding your services.</br></br>Source:
  • Crisis communication Crisis communication is a strategic approach to corresponding with people and organizations during a disruptive event. When a crisis occurs, proactive, quick and detailed communication is critical.</br></br></br>Source:
  • Unaffiliated volunteers Spontaneous or unaffiliated volunteers are individuals or groups that:</br>*arrive unsolicited at the scene of a disaster</br>*may or may not be a resident of the affected community</br>*may or may not possess skills necessary to respond to the current disaster</br>*are not associated with any part of the existing emergency management system </br></br>Source:
  • Policy Brief
  • Target audience
  • Policy Makers local, national, and European agencies and institutes, public authorities, standardization bodies
  • Practitioners Practitioners is a target group in LINKS which comprises local, national and European disaster management organizations, civil protection agencies, first responders, NGOs, security networks...
  • Researchers research institutions and scientific communities
  • Audience experience level
  • Starter Those who are not currently using social media, or the current use is based on providing general information and advice to citizens</br></br>Source:
  • Intermediate Those who currently use social media to communicate with the public and have developed a draft social media strategy, even if this is not thoroughly documented or communicated across the organisation</br></br>Source:
  • Disaster Management Phase
  • Before Comprises 'Preparedness Phase' and 'Prevention Phase'</br></br>Preparedness action is carried out within the context of disaster risk management and aims to build the capacities needed to efficiently manage all types of emergencies and achieve orderly transitions from response to sustained recovery.</br></br>Source:</br></br>Prevention (i.e., disaster prevention) expresses the concept and intention to completely avoid potential adverse impacts of hazardous events.</br></br>Source:
  • During Also referred to as "Response Phase"</br></br>Actions taken directly before, during or immediately after a disaster in order to save lives, reduce health impacts, ensure public safety and meet the basic subsistence needs of the people affected.</br></br>Annotation: Disaster response is predominantly focused on immediate and short-term needs and is sometimes called disaster relief. Effective, efficient and timely response relies on disaster risk-informed preparedness measures, including the development of the response capacities of individuals, communities, organizations, countries and the international community.</br></br>Source:
  • After Also referred to as 'Recovery Phase'</br></br>The restoring or improving of livelihoods and health, as well as economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets, systems and activities, of a disaster-affected community or society, aligning with the principles of sustainable development and “build back better”, to avoid or reduce future disaster risk.</br></br>Source:
  • Synopsis

    POLICY BRIEF - Targeting Communication in Disasters

    Populations in disasters are often assumed to be homogenous. However, targeting communication for different groups of citizens based on their individual needs andcapacities allow for efficient disaster risk management. Targeted communication is also important in the context of increased use of digital technologies such as social media and crowdsourcing to manage disasters. In order to be effective, communication should be inclusive and consider specifically vulnerable populations.


    • The primary goal of communication with citizens before, during and after a disaster is to provide information and advice that potentially reduces disaster impacts and ensures citizen safety.
      • This serves a dual purpose: first, it helps to prepare and protect citizens from harmful impacts of disasters and second, it facilitates efficient operations for the organisations working with disaster risk management by encouraging cooperation with their advice.
    • It is crucial to acknowledge that citizens possess valuable skills, resources, and they are more likely to act on advice from the organisations working with disaster risk management when they are sufficiently targeted and informed.
    • Communication is a two way street and citizens can play an active role in this process.
    • However, citizen's skills are ignored and it is commonly assumed that large populations at risk of disasters have uniform information needs.
      • This assumption fails to take into consideration the inherent diversity and vulnerability of large populations and in turn their differential needs, capacity, and resources.
      • This exacerbates peoples’ vulnerabilities during different disasters.
    • Therefore, effective communication requires targeting different groups who are most susceptible to a specific hazard followed by targeted messaging that meets the varying needs of different groups

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