Disaster management agencies have increasingly adopted online tools (e.g., social media platforms) for risk messaging, but the disparities in acquiring and comprehending risk information disseminated in online channels may influence the adoption of risk mitigation actions and exacerbate the rooted vulnerability of marginalized populations. However, this “digital vulnerability” has rarely been studied by extant studies. We thereby investigated the relations between digital capabilities, indicated by a series of skills to utilize the Internet and social media channels, risk information acquisition, and mitigation behaviors. We distributed surveys to 200 subsidized housing residents living in flood-prone areas, who are mostly low-income and lack housing options in private markets, and performed various descriptive and statistical analyses. The results showed the contributive role of social media in disseminating risk information and promoting risk mitigation actions. Particularly, we found that risk-aware residents with good digital skills tend to harness social media platforms as additional information channels and implement preventive actions (e.g., purchasing flood insurance and storing emergency supplies) to mitigate flood risks. The research recommends the integration of risk awareness campaigns with digital literacy training. It also encourages a more localized and tailored risk communication campaign focusing on flood-vulnerable communities suffering from the digital divide.
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© 2022 Elsevier Ltd
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
- Safety Research