NGOs are independent non-profit organizations, local or international, whose main mission are not commercial but focused on humanitarian, social, cultural, environmental, educational and similar issues. Most of the NGOs are engaged in disaster management, being of primary importance in the early warning mechanisms, filling the gaps left by “official” actors in case of a large-scale emergency, giving an essential help in disaster response and recovery. [1]

[1] The categorization follows the one used in WP2 ‘Actors, Systems, Processes, Policies in Disaster Management’, Deliverable D2.1 ‘Report on Actors in Disaster Management'. For more information, please follow the link.

Non-active citizens are individuals living inside hazard area that are subject to potential risk situations; cultural specificities shape different social groups inhabiting the area. Furthermore, the category includes outsiders present in the area at the moment of the disaster that should be targeted by disaster management policies accordingly to specific cultural traits (e.g. tourists, migrants).

Norms are socially and/or culturally established rules which describe the expected, and accepted, behaviour within a group or society. Values represent a set of general beliefs of an individual or a group what is deemed to be good or bad, right or wrong, acceptable or unacceptable.


Charitable behaviour (e.g. helping in reconstruction; hospitality) in the disaster recovery phase.

Family value: In case of a disaster, people may contact first their family members and close friends to ensure their safety rather than contacting emergency services.

Respect for elders: Children may have a better knowledge of adequate response in disaster situations, e.g. due to drills at school, than their parents. This knowledge can only be activated for “children educating parents” if an overly strong (expected) respect for elders is overcome.

Civic value: In case of a disaster, people may contact as many people as possible (independently from family/ friendship ties) to ensure their safety; moreover, they also contact the emergency services.

The way how people approach the views and knowledge of others and are receptive to new ideas. It also includes the willingness, and capability, to deal with conflicting information.


Openness to innovation: The willingness of disaster managers to use new information channels (e.g. social media) or alternative methods of disaster preparedness training (e.g. using serious games). The willingness of people to do the same, independently from technology acceptance (see below).

Technology acceptance: The ability and the willingness of people to use mobile phone apps and the Internet to inform themselves and their family/friends in case of a disaster. The ability and the willingness of people to use mobile phone apps to inform disaster managers of “signals” that could represent a potential alert.

How different groups interact with and/or control other groups. Power relationships can be horizontal or vertical, and they can relate to institution-institution, institution-citizen or citizen-citizen relations. They also depend on the strength of power, i.e. contexts where local authorities and/or central government authorities are weak versus contexts where local authorities and/or central government authorities are strong.


Power relationships between government institutions and NGO’s, or between civil and military institutions, in disaster response.

“Father State” discourse: It may be seen by citizens, or groups of citizens, as the government’s/local authorities’ sole responsibility to take care of disaster preparedness and response.

Disasters can reinforce existing power relations if specific groups within a population use the situation to strengthen their social status and/or economic power.

The goal of emergency preparedness programs is to achieve a satisfactory level of readiness to respond to any emergency situation through programs that strengthen the technical and managerial capacity of governments, organizations, and communities. These measures can be described as logistical readiness to deal with disasters and can be enhanced by having response mechanisms and procedures, rehearsals, developing long-term and short-term strategies, public education and building early warning systems. Preparedness can also take the form of ensuring that strategic reserves of food, equipment, water, medicines and other essentials are maintained in cases of national or local catastrophes.

Prevention/mitigation activities actually eliminate or reduce the probability of disaster occurrence, or reduce the effects of unavoidable disasters. Mitigation measures include building codes; vulnerability analyses updates; zoning and land use management; building use regulations and safety codes; preventive health care; and public education.

Recovery measures, both short and long term, include returning vital life-support systems to minimum operating standards; temporary housing; public information; health and safety education; reconstruction; counselling programs; and economic impact studies. Information resources and services include data collection related to rebuilding, and documentation of lessons learned.

The Red Cross represents 29 Red Cross National Societies in the European Union and Norway, and the IFRC. Activities concentrate on: Social Inclusion, Asylum and Migration, International Development Aid and Disaster Management (Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid). The Red Cross EU Office's core mandate includes information capturing and sharing, advocacy and positioning, coordination and fund-raising. European Red Cross Societies are auxiliaries to the public authorities. Indeed, they can be called by national authorities to accomplish specific tasks in humanitarian field. Their levels of engagement, in terms of types of civil protection activities and emergency services, change from country to country depending on the national context and the civil protection mandate that the National Society holds. [1]

[1] https://redcross.eu/about

Resilience is the ability of individuals, communities, organizations and states to adapt to and recover from hazards, shocks or stresses without compromising long-term prospects for development. [1] According to the Hyogo Framework for Action, disaster resilience is determined by the degree to which individuals, communities and public and private organizations are capable of organizing themselves to learn from past disasters and reduce their risks to future ones, at international, regional, national and local levels.

[1] http://www.gsdrc.org/topic-guides/disaster-resilience/concepts/what-is-disaster-resilience/

The aim of emergency response is to provide immediate assistance to maintain life, improve health and support the morale of the affected population. Such assistance may range from providing specific but limited aid, such as assisting refugees with transport, temporary shelter, and food, to establishing semi-permanent settlement in camps and other locations. It also may involve initial repairs to damaged infrastructure. The focus in the response phase is on meeting the basic needs of the people until more permanent and sustainable solutions can be found.

The “rule of law” is based on a number of principles of which we here list four: Firstly, the existence of laid-down rules in a country; secondly, these rules must be applied and enforced; thirdly, disputes about these rules must be resolved effectively and fairly; Fourthly these rules must be provided for by statutory law in a way which minimises ambiguity and maximises legal certainty such that a citizen can foresee the legal consequences of his/her behaviour.

For example, effectiveness / acceptance of the judicial system: If a judicial system is perceived as ineffective and/or is not accepted by groups within the population, this may also affect the effectiveness of disaster response and recovery. Disaster managers may have to deal with anarchism in certain areas, but also with groups of citizens who use alternative or informal systems (e.g. church council, family council, and mafia) to “solve” conflicts or to seek justice.

Societal and/or political mechanisms or processes that regulate individual and group behaviour, aiming to achieve conformity and compliance to the rules of a given society or group. Social control can be enforced using formal or informal sanctions, the latter comprising, e.g., shame, ridicule, sarcasm, criticism or disapproval.


Positive effect: Strong social control/strong regulation may facilitate awareness of and compliance with disaster management rules.

Negative effect: At certain stages of disaster management (in particular in the response phase) it may be necessary to go beyond these rules and benefit from the activism of everybody. A strong social control/strong regulation may not be helpful in such context.

Social exclusion involves the lack or denial of resources, rights, goods and services, and the inability to participate in relationships and activities that are normally available to the majority of people in a society or group.


Social exclusion/lack of social integration due to recent migration: Asylum seekers who have not yet an approved visa (or that are approved on a formal basis but not integrated in the receiving community) may not be allowed to work and, therefore, cannot gain the financial means to settle in a local community, and they may first need to learn the local language to participate in education activities and understand local hazards and procedures in case of a disaster.

Social exclusion of stigmatised groups: Members of stigmatised groups, e.g. (in some societies) gay or transgender people, may not gain access to neighbourhood networks which, in case of a disaster, can also function as information networks.

Networks of social interactions and personal relationships. They can comprise, e.g., family networks, neighbourhood networks or professional networks, they are characterized by their extent, density and stability, and they can be physical and/or virtual (online social networks).


Dense social networks are commonly understood to be advantageous in disaster situations as they facilitate mutual support. For example, research suggests that online social networks may also provide a basis for support networks in disaster situations, albeit subordinate to, e.g., family networks. Dense social networks can be seen as an “indicator” of social cohesion, and disaster management is easier in a community with strong rather than weak social cohesion.

Socioeconomic status is conceptualised as the social standing or “class” of an individual or group. It is often measured as a combination of education level, income and occupation.


Education level: may impact an individual’s capability to understand complex hazard information and to play an active role in disaster management.

Income: Some disaster preparedness measures, e.g. training courses for the general public, may not reach out to people with a low income, because they cannot afford the time to participate as they need it for generating sufficient income (often by working in several and/or after-hour jobs).

Occupation: Individuals or groups who work in isolated or noisy workplaces may be vulnerable because they do not receive, or simply do not hear, alerts.

Tags are specific selected keywords used for highlighting information that will support the development of the Cultural Map. The tag list was developed during the First Toolkit Workshop within the CARISMAND Project (Rome, 23-24 Jan 2017) and agreed upon by all project partners. The tags are arranged in four categories: (1) actors, (2) hazard types, (3) disaster stages, and (4) cultural factors.

The way an individual, or a group of individuals, thinks about the world; this can encompass, e.g., a specific philosophical, ethical or religious outlook, and it builds the framework of ideas and beliefs through which the respective individual or group watches the world and interacts with it.


Fatalism (i.e. the belief that an event is predetermined and therefore inevitable): A fatalistic attitude may prevent people from preparing themselves in case of a disaster risk.

Belief in experts: A belief that expert knowledge is infallible may prevent people from preparing themselves unless there is a scientifically based warning (e.g. of seismic risk).

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