Case Studies In Crisis Communication International Perspectives On Hits And Misses

Case Studies In Crisis Communication International Perspectives On Hits And Misses-19
Also, social vulnerability is key to determining the methods of communication and therefore people, complex social systems and non-structural solutions should be analysed (Abarquez & Murshed 2004).This is in keeping with the general considerations in the ‘Priorities for action’ within the Hyogo Framework 2005–2015 (UNISDR 2007), where each State has the primary responsibility for its own sustainable development and for taking effective measures to reduce disaster risk.

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Situated on the upper South coast, approximately 20 km from Durban, and adjoining the South Durban basin lies one of the largest concentration of chemical manufacturing companies in South Africa (Skinner 205).

The Umbogintwini industrial complex currently has 13 major operating companies, 12 of which manufacture a variety of chemical products, animal feeds and textiles.

This study was of an exploratory and descriptive nature, using a case study of the South Durban basin to demonstrate how media analysis, community discussions and internal and external evaluations of current practices in use by major industrial players in the basin has thus far failed to reach its full potential for effective disaster risk reduction.

• Abstract • Introduction • Understanding the South Durban basin • Defining communication approaches • Disaster risk communication • Communication policy and strategy for disaster risk reduction • Communication policy • Communication strategy • Communication context within the South Durban basin • Public protective strategy • The South Durban on-site emergency plans • Engen oil refinery • Lessons to be learned • Umbogintwini industrial complex • The South Durban off-site emergency plan • Outcomes assessment • The role of social media in disaster management • Conclusion • Acknowledgements • Competing interests • Authors’ contributions • References The study examined how effective forms of communication are, or could be, impacting the more traditional forms of emergency and disaster management communication through the print and electronic media and how an integrated communication strategy involving all stakeholders could prove to be successful.

Although the South Durban basin is considered one of the economic hubs of South Africa, it also continues to be the ‘environmental and disaster management hotspot’ in South Africa (South Durban Community Environmental Alliance [SDCEA] 2008b:1).

In particular, it has a unique spatial plan that has several heavy industries integrated with highly populated residential areas.In trying to preserve and restore their corporate image, BP used many strategies to alleviate the intensity of the ongoing threat to individuals, businesses and the ecosystem, including various social media channels to interact with individuals and interest groups (Muralidharan, Dillistone & Shin 2011).Until recently, traditional forms of mass communication were used to disseminate information about ‘understanding, surviving, and recovering from natural disasters’ (Paul 20).(Le Roux 2013:2)disaster risk is increasingly of global concern and its impact and actions in one region can have an impact on risks in another, and vice versa.This, compounded by increasing vulnerabilities related to changing demographic, technological and socio-economic conditions, unplanned urbanization, development within high-risk zones, under-development, environmental degradation, climate variability, climate change, geological hazards, competition for scarce resources, and the impact of epidemics such as HIV/AIDS, points to a future where disasters could increasingly threaten the world’s economy, and its population and the sustainable development of developing countries. 1)If the process of communication is difficult in our ordinary and daily lives, it is far more so in times of disaster.It is a continuous process of coding, decoding and interpretation and a way of sharing objectives, attitudes, knowledge, information and opinions.It takes place in a social context and people take the roles of both source and recipient (Abarquez & Murshed 2004).Organisations often experience information meltdown during a disaster and this is effectively when management could decide to take total control of all information and only feed through what they consider important, necessary, or ‘safe’.Communication is therefore a dynamic process with a twofold purpose that can foster learning, positive change and empowerment.The concentration of such a diverse range of industrial and commercial activities, coupled with a residential population living in close proximity to this development, makes it essential that proper planning is undertaken that involves all key stakeholders.Fundamental to all of this is the need for an integrated communication strategy to keep everyone informed, particularly in cases of emergency and disaster management.


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