Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 30528
Building Resilient Communities: The Traumatic Effect of Wildfire on Mati, Greece

Authors: K. Vallianou, T. Alexopoulos, V. Plaka, M. K. Seleventi, V. Skanavis, C. Skanavis

Abstract:

The present research addresses the role of place attachment and emotions in community resiliency and recovery within the context of a disaster. Natural disasters represent a disruption in the normal functioning of a community, leading to a general feeling of disorientation. This study draws on the trauma caused by a natural hazard such as a forest fire. The changes of the sense of togetherness are being assessed. Finally this research determines how the place attachment of the inhabitants was affected during the reorientation process of the community. The case study area is Mati, a small coastal town in eastern Attica, Greece. The fire broke out on July 23rd, 2018. A quantitative research was conducted through questionnaires via phone interviews, one year after the disaster, to address community resiliency in the long-run. The sample was composed of 159 participants from the rural community of Mati plus 120 coming from Skyros Island that was used as a control group. Inhabitants were prompted to answer items gauging their emotions related to the event, group identification and emotional significance of their community, and place attachment before and a year after the fire took place. Importantly, the community recovery and reorientation were examined within the context of a relative absence of government backing and official support. Emotions related to the event were aggregated into 4 clusters related to: activation/vigilance, distress/disorientation, indignation, and helplessness. The findings revealed a decrease in the level of place attachment in the impacted area of Mati as compared to the control group of Skyros Island. Importantly, initial distress caused by the fire prompted the residents to identify more with their community and to report more positive feelings toward their community. Moreover, a mediation analysis indicated that the positive effect of community cohesion on place attachment one year after the disaster was mediated by the positive feelings toward the community. Finally, place attachment contributes to enhanced optimism and a more positive perspective concerning Mati’s future prospects. Despite an insufficient state support to this affected area, the findings suggest an important role of emotions and place attachment during the process of recovery. Implications concerning the role of emotions and social dynamics in meshing place attachment during the disaster recovery process as well as community resiliency are discussed.

Keywords: natural disasters, wildfire, Community Resilience, Place Attachment

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 72

References:


[1] W. Heinet al., “Climate change and natural disasters: Government mitigation activities and public property demand response,” Land Use Policy, vol. 82, pp. 436–443, Mar. 2019, doi: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2018.12.026.
[2] J. Parente, M. Amraoui, I. Menezes, and M. G. Pereira, “Drought in Portugal: Current regime, comparison of indices and impacts on extreme wildfires,” Science of The Total Environment, vol. 685, pp. 150–173, Oct. 2019, doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.05.298.
[3] A. Karali, M. Hatzaki, C. Giannakopoulos, A. Roussos, G. Xanthopoulos, and V. Tenentes, “Sensitivity and evaluation of current fire risk and future projections due to climate change: the case study of Greece,” Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, vol. 14, Jan. 2014, doi: 10.5194/nhess-14-143-2014.
[4] D. de Rigo, G. Libertà, T. Durrant, T. Artes, and J. San-Miguel-Ayanz, Forest fire danger extremes in Europe under climate change: variability and uncertainty. 2017.
[5] S. Mishra, S. Mazumdar, and D. Suar, “Place attachment and flood preparedness,” Journal of Environmental Psychology, vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 187–197, Jun. 2010, doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2009.11.005.
[6] T. Shavit, S. Shahrabani, U. Benzion, and M. Rosenboim, “The Effect of Fire on Emotions and Risk Perceptions: A Field Study after the Carmel Forest Fire Disaster,” Journal of Environmental Psychology, vol. 36, pp. 129–135, Dec. 2013, doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2013.07.018.
[7] M. Molavi, “Measuring Urban Resilience to Natural Hazards,” TeMA. Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 195–212, 2018.
[8] J. Moreno, “The role of communities in coping with natural disasters: Lessons from the 2010 Chile Earthquake and Tsunami,” Procedia Engineering, vol. 212, pp. 1040–1045, Jan. 2018, doi: 10.1016/j.proeng.2018.01.134.
[9] C. Folkeet al., “Regime shifts, resilience, and biodiversity in ecosystem management,” Annu. Rev. Ecol. Evol. Syst., vol. 35, pp. 557–581, 2004.
[10] M. Arouri, C. Nguyen, and A. B. Youssef, “Natural Disasters, Household Welfare, and Resilience: Evidence from Rural Vietnam,” World Development, vol. 70, pp. 59–77, Jun. 2015, doi: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2014.12.017.
[11] S. L. Cutter et al., “A place-based model for understanding community resilience to natural disasters,” Global Environmental Change, vol. 18, no. 4, pp. 598–606, Oct. 2008, doi: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2008.07.013.
[12] J. B. Houston, M. L. Spialek, J. Cox, M. M. Greenwood, and J. First, “The centrality of communication and media in fostering community resilience: A framework for assessment and intervention,” American Behavioral Scientist, vol. 59, no. 2, pp. 270–283, 2015.
[13] A. V. Bahadur, M. Ibrahim, and T. Tanner, “The resilience renaissance? Unpacking of resilience for tackling climate change and disasters,” 2010.
[14] F. C. Nucifora Jr, I. Subbarao, and E. B. Hsu, “Changing the paradigm: A novel framework for the study of resilience,” 2012.
[15] S. Kruse et al., “Conceptualizing community resilience to natural hazards the emBRACE framework,” Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., vol. 17, no. 12, pp. 2321–2333, Dec. 2017, doi: 10.5194/nhess-17-2321-2017.
[16] R. J. Davidson and S. Begley, El perfilemocional de tucerebro, vol. 225. GrupoPlaneta (GBS), 2012.
[17] G. Kennedy, M. Richards, M. Chicarelli, A. Ernst, A. Harrell, and D. Stites, “Disaster mitigation: initial response,” Southern medical journal, vol. 106, no. 1, pp. 13–16, 2013.
[18] G. Prati, V. Catufi, and L. Pietrantoni, “Emotional and behavioural reactions to tremors of the Umbria-Marche earthquake,” Disasters, vol. 36, no. 3, pp. 439–451, Jul. 2012, doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7717.2011.01264.x.
[19] C. Ruiz and B. Hernández, “Emotions and coping strategies during an episode of volcanic activity and their relations to place attachment,” Journal of Environmental Psychology, vol. 38, pp. 279–287, Jun. 2014, doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2014.03.008.
[20] R. S. Cox and K.-M. E. Perry, “Like a Fish Out of Water: Reconsidering Disaster Recovery and the Role of Place and Social Capital in Community Disaster Resilience,” American Journal of Community Psychology, vol. 48, no. 3–4, pp. 395–411, Dec. 2011, doi: 10.1007/s10464-011-9427-0.
[21] K. E. Klockow, R. A. Peppler, and R. A. McPherson, “Tornado folk science in Alabama and Mississippi in the 27 April 2011 tornado outbreak,” GeoJournal, vol. 79, no. 6, pp. 791–804, Dec. 2014, doi: 10.1007/s10708-013-9518-6.
[22] T. McGee and E. R. (Lisa) Langer, “Residents’ preparedness, experiences and actions during an extreme wildfire in the Far North, Aotearoa New Zealand,” International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, vol. 41, p. 101303, Dec. 2019, doi: 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2019.101303.
[23] N. Obradovich, R. Migliorini, M. P. Paulus, and I. Rahwan, “Empirical evidence of mental health risks posed by climate change,” Proc Natl AcadSci USA, vol. 115, no. 43, p. 10953, Oct. 2018, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1801528115.
[24] E. Yamamura, “Natural disasters and their long-term effect on happiness: the case of the great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake,” 2012.
[25] A. Silver and J. Grek-Martin, “‘Now we understand what community really means’: Reconceptualizing the role of sense of place in the disaster recovery process,” Journal of Environmental Psychology, vol. 42, pp. 32–41, Jun. 2015, doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2015.01.004.
[26] K. Segal, J. Jong, and J. Halberstadt, “The fusing power of natural disasters: An experimental study,” Self and Identity, vol. 17, no. 5, pp. 574–586, Sep. 2018, doi: 10.1080/15298868.2018.1458645.
[27] K. Tanner, “Place attachment and place-based security: the experiences of red and green zone residents in post-earthquake Kaiapoi,” Unpublished geography Dissertation, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2012.
[28] C. Zheng, J. Zhang, Y. Guo, Y. Zhang, and L. Qian, “Disruption and reestablishment of place attachment after large-scale disasters: The role of perceived risk, negative emotions, and coping,” International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, vol. 40, p. 101273, Nov. 2019, doi: 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2019.101273.
[29] S. M. Low and I. Altman, “Place attachment: A conceptual inquiry,” Human Behavior & Environment: Advances in Theory & Research, vol. 12, pp. 1–12, 1992.
[30] S. Mazumdar, “Religious place attachment, squatting, and ‘qualitative’ research: A commentary,” Journal of Environmental Psychology, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 87–95, Mar. 2005, doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2004.09.003.
[31] S. Mazumdar and S. Mazumdar, “Sacred space and place attachment,” Journal of Environmental Psychology, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 231–242, 1993.
[32] E. C. Relph, Place and placelessness. Pion Limited, 1976.
[33] M. C. Hidalgo and B. Hernandez, “Place attachment: Conceptual and empirical questions,” Journal of environmental psychology, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 273–281, 2001.
[34] Y. Zhang, H.-L. Zhang, J. Zhang, and S. Cheng, “Predicting residents’ pro-environmental behaviors at tourist sites: The role of awareness of disaster’s consequences, values, and place attachment,” Journal of Environmental Psychology, vol. 40, pp. 131–146, Dec. 2014, doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2014.06.001.
[35] C. Anton and C. Lawrence, “The relationship between place attachment, the theory of planned behaviour and residents’ response to place change,” Journal of Environmental Psychology, vol. 47, May 2016, doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2016.05.010.
[36] H. J. Boon, “Disaster resilience in a flood-impacted rural Australian town,” Natural Hazards, vol. 71, no. 1, pp. 683–701, Mar. 2014, doi: 10.1007/s11069-013-0935-0.
[37] E. A. Heide, “Common misconceptions about disasters: Panic, the disaster syndrome, and looting,” The first 72 hours: A community approach to disaster preparedness, vol. 337, 2004.
[38] I. Anguelovski, “From Environmental Trauma to Safe Haven: Place Attachment and Place Remaking in Three Marginalized Neighborhoods of Barcelona, Boston, and Havana,” City & Community, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 211–237, 2013, doi: 10.1111/cico.12026.
[39] L. C. Manzo and D. D. Perkins, “Finding Common Ground: The Importance of Place Attachment to Community Participation and Planning,” Journal of Planning Literature, vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 335–350, May 2006, doi: 10.1177/0885412205286160.
[40] A. Maki, P. C. Dwyer, S. Blazek, M. Snyder, R. González, and S. Lay, “Responding to natural disasters: Examining identity and prosociality in the context of a major earthquake,” British Journal of Social Psychology, vol. 58, no. 1, pp. 66–87, Jan. 2019, doi: 10.1111/bjso.12281.
[41] I. Knez, A. Butler, Å. O. Sang, E. Ångman, I. Sarlöv-Herlin, and A. Åkerskog, “Before and after a natural disaster: Disruption in emotion component of place-identity and wellbeing,” Journal of Environmental Psychology, vol. 55, pp. 11–17, 2018.
[42] F. López-Martínez, S. Gil-Guirado, and A. Pérez-Morales, “Who can you trust? Implications of institutional vulnerability in flood exposure along the Spanish Mediterranean coast,” Environmental Science & Policy, vol. 76, pp. 29–39, Oct. 2017, doi: 10.1016/j.envsci.2017.06.004.
[43] Z. Kesetovic, P. Marić, and V. Ninković, “Crisis Communication of Local Authorities in Emergency Situations – Communicating ‘May Floods’ in the Republic of Serbia,” Lex localis - Journal of Local Self-Government, vol. 15, Jan. 2017, doi: 10.4335/15.1.93-109(2017).
[44] E. Uslaner, “Disaster and political trust: The Japan Tsunami and Earthquake of 2011,” 2016.
[45] S. Chantarat, S. Oum, K. Samphantharak, and V. Sann, “Natural Disasters, Preferences, and Behaviors: Evidence from the 2011 Mega Flood in Cambodia,” Journal of Asian Economics, vol. 63, pp. 44–74, Aug. 2019, doi: 10.1016/j.asieco.2019.05.001.
[46] A. De Juan, J. Pierskalla, and E. Schwarz, “Natural disasters, aid distribution, and social conflict – Micro-level evidence from the 2015 earthquake in Nepal,” World Development, vol. 126, p. 104715, Feb. 2020, doi: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2019.104715.
[47] S. H. Kang and M. Skidmore, “The Effects of Natural Disasters on Social Trust: Evidence from South Korea,” Sustainability, vol. 10, Aug. 2018, doi: 10.3390/su10092973.
[48] Z. Han, X. Lu, E. I. Hörhager, and J. Yan, “The effects of trust in government on earthquake survivors’ risk perception and preparedness in China,” Natural Hazards, vol. 86, no. 1, pp. 437–452, 2017.
[49] R. Shupp, S. Loveridge, M. Skidmore, J. Lim, and C. Rogers, “Trust and Patience after a Tornado,” Wea. Climate Soc., vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 659–668, Jun. 2017, doi: 10.1175/WCAS-D-16-0135.1.
[50] A. Barberopoulou and T. Tsiropoulos, The fire of July 23rd, 2018 Mati, Attiki Greece: Lessons learned in the face of lacking crisis management. 2019.
[51] S. Dafis, The July 2018 Attica wildfires: Scientific report v1.1. 2018.
[52] D. Blandford, “Burn Baby Burn” -Controlling the Risk of Wildfires in Greece. 2019.
[53] C. Ruiz, B. Hernández, and M. Hidalgo, “Confirmation of the factorial structure of neighbourhood attachment and neighbourhood identity scale,” Psyecology, vol. 2, pp. 157–165, May 2011, doi: 10.1174/217119711795712586.
[54] T. Q. Phan and E. M. Airoldi, “A natural experiment of social network formation and dynamics,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 112, no. 21, pp. 6595–6600, 2015.
[55] D. Clarke, C. Murphy, and I. Lorenzoni, “Place attachment, disruption and transformative adaptation,” Journal of Environmental Psychology, vol. 55, pp. 81–89, Feb. 2018, doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2017.12.006.
[56] C. Giannoulis, C. Skanavis and E. Karapatsiou. “Environmental Awareness: Environmental Accidents as an example to be avoided. A Summative International Analysis”, Studies in Media and Communication, vol.2, no1, pp. 38-48, 2014.
[57] E. N. Vasdeki, M. I. Michail, K.C. Vratsanou, M. Botzori, K. Marini, V. Petreniti and C. Skanavis, “Emotional status affecting environmental decision making: the case of environmental video expose. Further implications on Tourism audiences,” 10th International Conference on Islands Tourism, Palermo, Italy, pp. 81–89, Jan. 2019.
[58] F. Ric, T. Alexopoulos, D. Muller and B. Aubé. “Emotional norms for 524 French personality-trait words”, Behavior Research Methods, vol.45, pp. 414-421, 2013.
[59] K. Papaspiliou, C. Skanavis and C. Giannoulis. “Civic Ecology Education and Resilient Societies: a Survey of Forest Fires in Greece”, Journal of Education and Training Studies, vol.2, no2, pp. 48-57, 2014.