Only 8.43% of the people surveyed on post-floods Kerala know that a cyclone is a natural disaster, a Kerala State Literacy Mission Authority survey has found.
The survey was held among 2.91 lakh households in the State to know the minds of the people in the wake of the recent floods.
It also found nearly 42% had no idea of the precautions to be taken against natural disasters. As many as 20% had not heard of climate change, while 17% had no knowledge that diseases could spread after floods. Most of these people lived in tribal and coastal areas, those populated by Scheduled Castes, and colonies in the city.
Over 22% of the people said they did not switch off gas cylinders before heading out, while over 49% said they left the chargers switched on even if phones were not being charged, increasing the possibility of accidents during disasters.
The survey also found that 66.77% of the people had not heard of emergency kits used for self-protection during emergencies. Only 43.74% gave adequate answers when asked about their awareness of droughts, floods, earthquakes, and cyclones. About 87% of those surveyed said they came to know about the floods through television, newspapers, and social media; the maximum through television, over 59%.
Further, the survey revealed inadequate awareness among the populace on plastic waste. Nearly 39% of them burnt plastic waste, and had no idea of its ill-effects on health.
The survey thus concluded that despite two natural disasters in the State within the past year, there are people here who do not have a clear idea of natural disasters or the precautions to be adopted in the event of one.
A report on the survey was presented by mission director P.S. Sreekala to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan here on Saturday. Of the total houses surveyed, 41,052 belonged to the Scheduled Castes and 5,042 to the Scheduled Tribes. One person was surveyed from each house. Of the responders, over 1.55 lakh were women, and 38 were transgenders.
A survey finding that instilled hopes for better disaster prevention was that as many as 86% of the people expressed their willingness to take part in awareness programmes on natural disasters.
As many as 20.46% said disaster management should be included in the curriculum.
As many as 68,038 equivalency learners of the mission acted as survey volunteers. Of these, 39,680 were women, and 34 transgenders. The mission recommended to the government that a disaster mitigation literacy programme be implemented in the State. Training should be given to literacy workers and learners on disaster mitigation. Concerted efforts by various agencies of the government should be ensured at the local level for disaster mitigation.