Does prior experience really matter for disaster preparedness?
Climate change and transition toward urbanization had resulted in more frequent and severe disasters in the last decade. While urbanization is potential driver of change and economic growth, climate change had exacerbated resource scarcity and exposed local communities to greater and more frequent disasters. The local communities in Malaysia are of no exception. The most common types of disasters in Malaysia are landslide, flash flood and haze. This study explores the extent to which prior experience affects the level of preparedness among Malaysian communities before occurrence of natural disasters. Although previous studies have proven prior experience aided better handling of preparedness, yet some researchers have not found significant correlation between prior experience and preparedness. Having inconclusive results and with the rise of unexpected disaster events, has lead this present study to investigate the link in the Malaysian context. Questionnaire surveys were distributed to more than 1,000 respondents and face-to-face interviews were conducted with 12 local communities from Klang Valley, Malaysia. The results indicated that prior experience does contribute towards the level of disaster preparedness among the local communities in Malaysia. Hence, the findings of this present study may reduce the impact of disasters and thus could help local communities to effectively cope with the events of disasters.
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