Through qualitative research, this paper explores local perceptions during, and after, volcanic crises in Yogyakarta, near Gunung Merapi volcano in Indonesia.
The research found that volunteer-led grassroots monitoring systems and networks play a key role in the distribution of masks and respiratory health narratives, thus influencing the wide adoption of certain types of respiratory protection. Disaster management agencies, village heads, ritual experts and volunteers participating in these monitoring networks share spiritual signals (dreams) and scientific ones (seismic data, health narratives) and masks as part of their response to volcanic crises.
Findings about these Merapi networks challenge dominant assumptions in the Disaster Risk Reduction literature that tend to equate building resilience with the substitution of problematic ‘cultural beliefs’ for ‘scientific facts’.
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