(Hong Kong, 15October, 2021) Hong Kong has experienced different types of disasters and emergencies in recent years. To review Risk Perception, Level of Readiness and Level of Confidence of Hong Kong's public in disasters response, and to further understand how to enhance the capacity of the city in response to disasters at the individual level and institutional level, the Hong Kong Red Cross (HKRC) has commissioned Consumer Search Group to conduct a "Public Resilience Survey" in 2018 and 2021 in the form of street interview and in 2021, a total of 1,200 people have been successfully interviewed. HKRC released the findings today, echoing the "International Day for Disaster Reduction" (October 13) and calling for community actions to be prepared for and reduce risks of disasters.
The result of "Public Resilience Survey" in 2021 shows that the general public perceived a higher risk of a disaster in Hong Kong over the next 5 years than before. About one-quarter (24.7%) of respondents considered "the level of risk of a disaster in Hong Kong over the next 5 years" as high in 2021, which has increased 14.8% when compared to the figure of less than a tenth (9.9%) in 2018. Meanwhile, respondents' level of confidence towards disasters has been increased by more than a tenth (12.3%), from a score of 48.36 (out of 100) in 2018 to 54.33 in 2021. However, the general public had a relatively low level of readiness for disasters or emergencies. In 2018, 12.9% respondents' households have prepared for disasters or emergencies, although the percentage increased to 24.3% in 2021, still 75% of households have not prepared for disasters or emergencies and this situation worth concerns.
The survey also examined public preparations for disasters or emergencies, it shows that the public had insufficient awareness of the preparation of survival kits. In 2021, although eight out of ten (80.0%) of the respondents were able to name "three or more essential supplies for evaluation", only around four in ten (40.8%) of those who named more than one items would put the essential supplies together for the ease of evacuation. And in terms of training courses on skills or knowledge to respond to emergencies, the rate of public participation in training courses in the past three years has dropped from 15.4% in 2018 to 12.2% in 2021. This may be related to the decrease in training activities provided by different institutions and schools to avoid crowd gathering in response to COVID-19.
In this survey, the research took reference from part of the Social Capital Scale developed by the Community Investment and Inclusion Fund, covering categories of social capital which includes "Mutual Support", "Trust and Solidarity", "Social Cohesion and Tolerance" and "Information and Communication". "Through in-depth analysis, we found that Social Capital is the only factor that serves as a significant predictor of both level of readiness and confidence in disaster response in the survey. Respondents who had more social capital tended to have a higher level of readiness and confidence. It reflects that social network of the community and between people has a certain impact on the public's level of readiness and confidence in responding to disasters," Ms Yu Hoi Sze, Yvonne, Head of Planning & Service Development, Hong Kong Red Cross said.
Ms Lam Chuen Ping, Eleanor, Deputy Chief Executive Officer/ Deputy Secretary General, Hong Kong Red Cross called for community actions, "Although disasters might not be totally avoidable, we can take the initiative to get prepared for disasters, and reduce casualties and property losses. Echoing the International Day for Disaster Reduction, we consider "every one has a role in disaster preparedness". We encourage individuals and institutions to develop Disaster Preparedness Plan and to strengthen social capital, thereby enhancing their preparedness and confidence in responding to disasters." The HKRC suggested individuals to prepare a survival kit, develop a household evacuation plan and escape route with family, actively participate in training on disaster preparedness, strengthen connections with different organizations/institutions, and take the initiative to care for and help those around. Institutions are recommended to develop evacuation plans and host regular emergency drills, provide training of disaster preparedness for employees, cooperate with other institutions or organizations to provide emergency supplies or sites to the community when necessary.
The HKRC is committed to providing disaster preparedness training, first aid courses and psychological first aid workshops for different communities and groups. Through workshops, mobile truck for disaster preparedness education, virtual reality (VR) experiential game, promotion and home visits for high-risk groups, the HKRC enhances knowledge and capacity of the public in responding to disasters. The HKRC will continue to provide various humanitarian services in response to the needs of the society and the findings in the research, including promotion of disasters preparedness, facilitate building connections between the public and institutions and the provision of training support to other organizations.
The HKRC will host an event to commemorate International Day for Disaster Reduction on 17 October, 2021 at Wong Tai Sin Temple Mall North. There will be a "Disaster Ludo Game" experience, VR games and a number of game booths open for the public for free. For details, please visit: http://link.redcross.org.hk/iddr2021post.
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