Disaster Management Manual
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2.4.2 Coping capacity of community

Coping capacity is the ability of people, organizations and systems, using available skills and resources, to manage adverse conditions, risk or disasters. The capacity to cope requires continuing awareness, resources and good management, both in normal times as well as during disasters or adverse conditions. Coping capacities contribute to the reduction of disaster risks.

Strengthening disaster preparedness through self-help and mutual-aid is considered to be essential for coping capacity with large-scale wide-area disasters. It is said that when a local community has 1) a human network, 2) a sense of mutuality (norms and reciprocity), and 3) mutual trust, mutual aid activities are more likely to flourish and have a positive impact on disaster management activities. Social capital is considered to be that which enhances social efficiency by focusing on these factors. It is also said that "social capital" in local communities is activated by disaster preparedness, and there is a relationship between "social capital" and "local disaster preparedness" that enhances both. Civic engagement" is one of the civic activities to enhance social capital. Citizens' individual and collective involvement in public issues is an important factor in building social capital.

In the field of tsunami countermeasures for roads, there are examples of cooperation between highways and local communities to strengthen the disaster prevention capability of local communities in terms of tsunami evacuation. In the area of maintenance management, citizens have begun to participate in the process of inspecting and reporting damage to local roads. These are just a few examples of budding citizen participation activities that contribute to road disaster prevention and regional disaster prevention.

It remains to be seen how the disaster preparedness of local communities can enhance the disaster preparedness of expressways, but at the very least, road administrators need to work together with local communities on disaster prevention.

Reference sources

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