NATIONAL STUDY FINDS MOST CANADIANS BELIEVE NATURAL DISASTERS BECOMING MORE FREQUENT AND SEVERE

Ontario Science Centre study shows three quarters of Canadians feel that climate change will lead to more serious natural disasters

TORONTO, Feb. 1 /CNW/ - According to a new study commissioned by the Ontario Science Centre, 76 per cent of Canadians feel that natural disasters are occurring more frequently and also believe that climate change will lead to more serious occurrences in the future. Ironically, despite this concern, one in three Canadians say they do not know what supplies they would need to get through an emergency. 

"This study shows us that Canadians have a gap in their knowledge about what to do if faced with a natural disaster," said Lesley Lewis, CEO, Ontario Science Centre. "These findings make our upcoming exhibition Nature Unleashed: Inside Natural Disasters even more relevant.  It's our opportunity to educate the public on natural disasters in a compelling and engaging way."

When it comes to emergency preparedness, the study found that most Canadians believe they have enough food, water and supplies to last the recommended 72 hours in case of an emergency. However, one in five Canadians say they will not be able to reach the 72-hour mark.

The study was prepared in time for the upcoming launch of the Ontario Science Centre's new temporary exhibition, Nature Unleashed: Inside Natural Disasters, opening February 11. The exhibition features activities and educational material on natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes and tornadoes and how people cope and adapt in the aftermath of such disasters. Activities include: an interactive display of real-time earthquake activity across the globe, a build-your-own volcano station, the stories of Hurricane Katrina survivors and a station that makes you feel as though you are in the centre of a tornado.

Additional Survey Highlights:

  • 76 per cent of Canadians also either strongly agree or somewhat agree that climate change will lead to more serious natural disasters in the future.
  • One in four Canadians believe major natural disasters such as floods or tornadoes are likely to pose a risk to their households in the next few years.
  • 22 per cent of Canadians think an earthquake is likely to pose a risk to their home in the next five years.
  • 15 per cent of Canadians believe a hurricane is likely to pose a risk to their home in the next five years.
  • Regional perceptions of these risks vary significantly - earthquakes are of concern to the majority of British Columbians; while for most Atlantic Canadians, hurricanes are a major concern. In Ontario 29 per cent say a tornado is likely to pose a risk to their homes.
  • Older Canadians and female Canadians are somewhat more likely to say disasters are more frequent and more likely to pose a risk to their households.
  • 82 per cent of women either strongly agree or somewhat agree that natural disasters are occurring more frequently compared with only 68% of men.

The survey was conducted by The Gandalf Group with an online survey amongst 1,020 Canadians. The survey was conducted in French and English on January 20th and 21st, 2011.

This exhibition and its national tour were developed by the Field Museum, Chicago.

National Tour Sponsor: Allstate Insurance Company of Canada

About the Ontario Science Centre

The Ontario Science Centre uses science as the lens to inspire and actively engage people in new ways of seeing, understanding and thinking about themselves and the world around them. The Ontario Science Centre is an agency of the Government of Ontario. For more information, visit www.OntarioScienceCentre.ca or call our box office at 416-696-1000. Twitter: @ontsciencectr

SOURCE Ontario Science Centre

For further information:

Media contacts:

Anna Relyea     
Ontario Science Centre  
416-696-3273    
Cell: 416-668-1967   
Anna.relyea@osc.on.ca  




Alex Swann  
Gandalf Group
Tel: 416-644-4125
Cel: 416-951-3325
swann@gandalfgroup.ca
Tricia Soltys
Narrative Advocacy Media
416-644-4128 
Tricia.Soltys@narrative.ca





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