Introduction: Anti-social behavior and self-preservation are often assumed to be normal responses to threats and disasters; on the contrary, decades of research and empirical studies in social sciences showed that pro-social behaviors are frequently common and that solidarity is the typical response to a variety of threats. The main objective of this study is to investigate and describe survivors’ behavior, especially solidarity, according to the presence of familiar persons and to the perception of physical danger, elaborating the framework of Mawson’s social attachment theory.
Methods: In order to investigate these relationships, a behavioral research was carried out involving 288 people affected by the December 8th 2013 Haiyan Typhoon (Yolanda).
Results: Results revealed that solidarity was predominant and people reacted collectively and actively taking part in relief activities. Furthermore, we found strong solidarity and help towards strangers and unfamiliar persons.
Discussion: Investigating how people react is essential to develop a more efficient and effective response strategy, especially in the immediate aftermath of a disaster when disaster managers have little control of the situation and people rely on themselves; the natural tendency to help others can be essential to reduce losses and to fill the temporal gap between the event and the arrival of the organized relief unit.