Italian Lesson Learned and How Words Can Save Us: A Resilient Communication Model for Future Disaster Planning

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 11:00
Location: Hörsaal 4A KS (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Barbara LUCINI, Catholic University of Sacred Heart, Italy
Italy has always been stricken by disasters and its population is continuously at risk.
The Italian socio-cultural background offers a lively image of the importance of words and their impact on national disaster risk reduction policies and their local practices.
The lingual substance affects the interpretation and the conceptualization of a disaster and its phases in a particular way.
Specifically, three Italian case studies - the Italian earthquakes occurring in Umbria, 1997; Molise, 2002; and Abruzzo, 2009 - and two workshops managed by the Regional School of Civil Protection – Lombardia Region, will be considered for a resilient communication model aimed at reframing and enhancing risk communication, disaster planning and disaster risk reduction.
The interesting issue emerging from these studies was the differences in meaning and interpretation of terminology, referring to the same words such as disaster, vulnerability, and resilience, and their impact on disaster management.
These case studies depict the relevance of confrontation, dialogues and narratives for a possible common understanding of the same words between different social and professional cultures applicable to civil protection volunteers, emergency professionals, politicians, experts, ordinary people, and victims.
The two workshops were conceived within two diverse operational contexts.
The first was conducted to provide the Italian adaptation and translation of a UN game, “Riskland” and it was worthwhile in understanding the interpretation of words by civil protection volunteers and children.
The second workshop was aimed at improving the communication skills and relational competences for the civil protection volunteer as witnesses of disaster management and rescue activities.
The three case studies and the two workshops gave a fundamental contribution in order to develop a resilient communication model for future disaster planning and to understand the role of words and their cultural meaning for the community at risk, the local, regional and national emergency stakeholders.