Publication Details

Chatfield, A. Takeoka. & Reddick, C. G. (2015). Understanding risk communication gaps through e-government website and Twitter hashtag content analyses: the case of Indonesia's Mt. Sinabung eruption. Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, 12 (2), 351-385.


Despite operational volcano surveillance using meteorological satellite, thermal remote sensing and infrared camera technologies, predicting a volcano's hazardous activity and explosive eruption, with any accuracy, remains nearly impossible. Volcanic hazards and risk literature identifies risk communication as critical but insufficiently understood. This paper, therefore, investigates disaster risk communications during Indonesia's Mt. Sinabung eruptions in February 2014, causing 16 deaths and continuous evacuations of 30,000 residents. We critically examined one-way government-to-citizens communications via e-government websites and Twitter and citizens' multi-directional communications via #sinabung hashtag for sharing volcano risk perceptions about affected villagers. Our Twitter analysis of #sinabung found evidence for the absence of government engagement in risk perception communications and leadership in responding to the Indonesian public's expressed concerns for the Mt. Sinabung disaster. For governments that would implement citizen-centric e-governance, Twitter can be used effectively as a multi-directional risk communication tool to quickly and effectively share risk perceptions and disaster information with the public.



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