Objectives: There is limited evidence on urban Asian communities’ disaster risk perceptions and household level preparedness. Hong Kong is characterized by high population density, and is susceptible to large-scale natural disasters and health crises such as typhoons, fires and infectious disease outbreaks. This research paper investigates the rates and predictors of urban community disaster risk perception, awareness and preparedness, at individual and household levels.
Methods: A randomized cross-sectional, population-based telephone survey study was conducted among the Cantonese-speaking population aged over 15 years in Hong Kong. Descriptive statistics were reported. A stepwise multivariate logistic regression analysis was conducted to determine the independent associations between risk perceptions, socioeconomic factors, household characteristics, and personal background.
Findings: Final study sample comprised of 1002 respondents with a 63% response rate. The majority of respondents (82.3%) did not perceive Hong Kong as a disaster-susceptible city. Half (54.6%) reported beliefs that the local population had lower disaster awareness than other global cities. Infectious disease outbreak (72.4%), typhoon (12.6%), and fire (7.1%) were ranked as the most-likely-to-occur population-based disasters. Although over 77% believed that basic first aid training was necessary for improving individual disaster preparedness, only a quarter (26.1%) of respondents reported participation in training.
Conclusion: Despite Hong Kong’s high level of risk, general public perceptions of disaster in Hong Kong were low, and little preparedness has occurred at the individual or household levels. This report has potential to inform the development of related policies and risk communication strategies in Asian urban cities.