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61% HK Public Aware of Increasing Disaster Risks Without Taking Extra Actions

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61% HK Public Aware of Increasing Disaster Risks Without Taking Extra Actions




Our latest population based survey found that 61% of the public of Hong Kong did not take extra action in response to the fact that they believed disasters were becoming more severe.


​Hong Kong ranks high among Asia’s urban cities with natural disaster risks according to the ARCADIS Sustainable Cities Index 2015. The coastal mega city faces natural disaster risks of super typhoons, floods and storm surge. As a global logistics hub with one of the highest population densities in the world, Hong Kong also faces risks of man-made hazards such as epidemics, technological hazards and deliberate acts of violence. It is well recognised that people of Hong Kong are facing more disaster risks in recent decades due to climate change and other human factors. 


In collaboration with the Public Opinion Programme, The Hong Kong University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Jockey Club Disaster Preparedness and Response Institute (HKJCDPRI) conducted a Public Opinion Survey on Disaster Risks and Disaster Preparedness (the "Survey"). The Survey aimed to understand the followings: 

i)     public's perception and awareness of disaster risks;

ii)    awareness and understanding of disaster preparedness actions;

iii)   information seeking behaviour and other opinions related to the topic. 


The population-based anonymous telephone survey was conducted on a random sample of 1,011 Cantonese-speaking adults aged 18 or above between 17-28 June 2019. Some highlights of the survey results are: 


  • ​​The top three disaster types that respondents indicated as most likely happen to them were: typhoons (78%), infectious disease outbreaks (74%) and fire incidents (63%). The three disaster types that they were most worried about were the same. Among this group of respondents, 60% reported that these three disasters might afftect them or their family members. 
  • Over half (53%) of respondents ranked infectious disease outbreaks as their most concerned type of disasters. 
  • Over one-third of respondents reported that the disasters that would happen in Hong Kong and affect them and their family members were:
    • ​Major road traffic accidents (58%)
    • Extreme weather conditions (53%)
    • Landslides (51%)
    • Flooding (48%)
    • Terrorist attack / Deliberate act of attack incidents (42%)
    • Chemical leakage incident (38%)
    • Nuclear and radiation incidents (36%)
  • 54% of respondents reported that they did not do anything to get prepared for those disasters they were worried about.
  • 22% of respondents indicated that it was difficult to find information about disaster preparedness and response. 
  • 68% of respondents thought that disasters had become more severe in Hong Kong compared to two years ago. Among this group of respondents, 60% did not take any action in response to the situation. (61%).
  • Among 969 respondents who had traveled overseas, over one third of them reported that the three disaster types that they would most likely encounter overseas were: earthquakes (37%), typhoons (37%) and major road traffic accidents (36%).
  • Around two-third of respondents who reported typhoons or fire accidents as their most concerned disaster types indicated that they had sufficient knowledge to cope with the disasters. However, many respondents were not familiar with the preparedness actions of other risks such as infectious disease outbreaks, extreme weather conditions, floods, landslides, earthquake, terrorist attack, nuclear and radiation incidents, etc.


We are now working on a report to share details of the results and our recommendations. 

Note that the survey was conducted 17-28 June 2019 which was before the start of the recent social unrest in Hong Kong since July 2019.