Experiences and perceptions of natural hazards among international migrants living in Valparaiso, Chile

Bernales, M, Repetto, P, McIntyre, A, Vasquez, A, Drury, J, Sullivan, G and Castañeda, J (2019) Experiences and perceptions of natural hazards among international migrants living in Valparaiso, Chile. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 34. pp. 116-128. ISSN 2212-4209

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial No Derivatives.

Download (2MB)


International migrants are a socially vulnerable group within the context of disasters. However, disasters research focusing on this group is limited. This problem is the primary focus of the present study.

Aim: To explore responses, behaviors and experiences concerning natural hazards among migrants living in Valparaíso, Chile.

Methods: Following a constructivist paradigm, we conducted a case study. We interviewed twenty migrants. The interviews were analyzed using thematic analysis. The study was peer-reviewed by Universidad del Desarrollo Ethics Committee.

Results: Participants described intense emotional reactions when facing disasters that reduced their coping ability. Their limited knowledge about natural hazards and how to react, explain in part their responses and the difficulties they face. Participants compared their reactions with the behaviors exhibited by the local Chilean population who displayed very little fear and seemed to be used to these events. Finally, despite sharing the same native language, Spanish, preparation activities and warnings appear not to be reaching them.

Conclusions: There is an urgent need to implement culturally sensitive preparation strategies, through migrants´ existing social networks, to address their needs and concerns and to enable them to cope with natural hazards. Emotional reactions appear to play an essential role in their response to natural disasters and should also be recognized and validated.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Migrants; natural hazards; Chile
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Sanjeedah Choudhury
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2018 11:12
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2019 02:00
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/80201

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update