E-government, social media, and risk perception communication at the edge of disaster: Findings from the Mt. Sinabung eruption in Indonesia
Despite operational volcano surveillance using meteorological satellite, thermal remote sensing and infrared camera technologies, predicting its hazardous activity and explosive eruption, with any accuracy, remains nearly impossible. Against this, volcanic hazards and risk literature identifies risk communication as a new research challenge. This study presents insights from the disaster risk communication practice, during the Mt. Sinabung eruptions in February 2014, causing 16 deaths and continuous evacuations of 30,000 local residents. We examined IT uses, including e-government websites and social media, which facilitated or inhibited communications of risk perceptions by governments, the affected villagers, and the public. Based on findings, we discuss socio-political and socio-technical implications for overcoming inter-agency coordination and clear cross-jurisdictional communication challenges so as to improve external political efficacy of volcanic risk communication and to empower the public living at the edge of disaster and take appropriate and timely responses that would mitigate the volcanic hazards and risk. Copyright 2014 ACM.