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Government Crisis Communication: Nation’s reaction to a natural disaster

    We always talk about company crisis communication and individual crisis communication. What about a nation’s first reaction to a crisis, particularly, a natural disaster?

    It comes to the government public relations, which focuses on the relationship with the public.

    Recently, natural disasters happened frequently. China Sichuan earthquake, Haiti earthquake and Chile earthquake all bring the country into crisis. Every move of the country is under the attention of the media and the whole world. This is the time for a nation to show its capacity of decision and execution, and its power to overcome difficulties and solve problems. China has demonstrated a successful crisis management; its rapid responses, effective measures and united people earn both the heart of Chinese people and the respect of the world. So if making the right reaction to a national crisis, it will be a good chance for the country to perform government public relations and establish positive international image.

●Let people know what happened, what is going on and what will be done to deal with the crisis.

    When a natural disaster breaks, what people want to know most is the fact. The government should truthfully reveal the sphere of influence and relevant statistics. It should also make rapid response to control the situation. Let people know the truth can make them at ease and confident, and trust the government.

●Show the government has paid great attention to the event and taken effective measures.

    When the disaster happens, people will be upset. There will be rumors and chaos around the country. If people learn that the country has attached great importance to the crisis and the situation might be controlled under the government in time action, they will have the confidence and courage to get together and solve the problem.

●    Place victims’ interest first and care about its people.

    The key of the crisis communication is to let people perceive that the government is concerned about the sufferings of people. People are the most important part of a nation. Thinking about victims first can make people have a feeling of being valued and a sense of belonging. It is a good way for the government to rally public support.

●    Call for help from outside.

    To earlier and better solve the crisis, the government also needs to seek help form the whole country or the rest of the world. The government should set up an example, unite its people, and express the love for the nation and love for the people.

●    Establish international image and reputation.

    When the crisis breaks, the world is watching you; everyone keeps eyes on you. The government has to step up and show people what it can do and where is its power. The crisis is also an opportunity for the country to build positive nation image, win reputation and increase international status.

    Of course, all the above need us to use the power of media, both the stream media and social media, to convey information, get help and unite people. This requires the government to build and maintain sound media relationships.