A strategy for organizing disaster volunteers

  • Daimon Hiroaki
    Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto University Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
  • Atsumi Tomohide
    Graduate School of Human Sciences, Osaka University
  • Inaba Keishin
    Graduate School of Human Sciences, Osaka University
  • Wang Wenjie
    Graduate School of Human Sciences, Osaka University

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Other Title
  • 災害ボランティアの組織化のための戦略
  • サイガイ ボランティア ノ ソシキカ ノ タメ ノ センリャク

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Abstract

<p>This study aimed to clarify the key factors related to the organization of volunteers following the Kumamoto Earthquake of 2016. Semi-structured interviews and participant observations in Mashiki and Nishihara were used to compare two disaster-volunteer centers, both of which coordinated volunteers to meet survivors’ needs. The results showed that the centers were markedly different organizations. The command and control (C&C) model was used in Mashiki to avoid chaotic behavior by volunteers and survivors, whereas the improvisational and autonomous (I&A) model was used in Nishihara to solve a multitude of problems. Structural holes arose in Mashiki because of the disaster center’s C&C model, although Mashiki was the town that was most seriously damaged by the earthquake. It is unlikely that employing both organizational styles in Mashiki would have resulted in appropriate responses. The C&C model creates a vertical hierarchical organization, whereas the I&A model avoids such a hierarchy, producing a horizontal organization instead, which worked better in Nishihara. Thus, we conclude that after disasters it is necessary to prevent the emergence of the C&C model and leverage the I&A model instead, to prevent structural holes occurring.</p>

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