The Social Aspects of Radiation Disaster: Past, Present and Future

Anisur Rahman Ershad : Radiation means the emission of energy as electromagnetic waves or as moving subatomic particles, especially high-energy particles which cause ionization. Disasters may impact on all aspects of a community. Disasters are classified as human-made (non-natural) and natural. Radiation Disasters can impact upon many aspects of social wellbeing and community.

Radiation disasters affect people directly, indirectly, emotionally, financially. It produces conditions of vulnerability and effects on the built environment, economic environment, and natural environment. Not everyone is affected equally by radiation disaster. It’s important to know about the social aspects of radiation damage and socio-cultural change.

If the radioactive rays increase more than tolerable level, it will be harmful for human-environment. Radiation disasters are seen as having long duration. The losses of social site have reflected in the study.


Radiation Disaster, Household, Family, Refugees, Livelihood, Culture, Human Rights, Relationships, Gender, Local Knowledge, Social Crime, Public Discourse, Mass Media, Vulnerability, Human Behavior.


My research is motivated by recent trends. In Fukushima, Ecological Systems have changed dramatically over the past few years. The consequence of radioactivity may be some long term or short term.

At present the radioactivity have been using in various work place which is very essential to the modern world. Some electronic magnet expands dangerous radiation. But except this, we cannot go on for any single moment that is reality.

All kind of people and animal are living in the risk. The amount of loss may either huge or low based on the variation of radioactivity. In the case, the high volume of radioactivity will be considered more significant. Though we can live without eating some time but could not adapt with radioactivity.

Research Objectives and Aims

The losses of radiation disaster will be understood deeply. Four key objectives structure this study.

1. To understand the impacts of radiation disaster on household, family, social network, livelihood, culture, society, community, behavior, life style, power structure, gender.

2. To Know the role of Media, NGO, INGO, Government, Agency, Corporate Group, Civil Society, Nation State in Radiation disaster.

3. To realize the children and women vulnerability, gender discrimination, human rights condition, moral values decrease, social crime, refugees crisis, public discourse, representation and reconstruction of self, contradiction between local knowledge and expert knowledge, social change and close relationships, kinship.

4. To know the overall social consequences of the radiation in Japan and its thematic cultural and social relevance to other locations like Bangladesh.

Justification of the research

In modern world, there have been a number and diverse examples of ‘Radiation Disaster’ but only a few literatures have given adequate attention to this. Social study of radiation effects and damages are very timely topic. Research is needed both at the local and at national and regional levels on social aspect of radiation disaster and factors that increase disaster vulnerability.

On the case of Fukushima, Japan has been experiencing its first nuclear power station disaster. Hiroshima was the world’s first city to come under a nuclear attack. In Japan, the accident of Hiroshima or Nagasaki attacked by human but Fukushima accident is a combination of natural disaster and man-made disaster. The losses of radiation disaster will describe in social research.

Radiation Disaster and Household

Effects of social participation and the emergence of voluntary social interactions impact on household. A social survey will conduct to know about household change, relationship with each other and social group activities, personal networks and social interaction of disaster-affected people, their household emergency management system. The impact upon individuals and households needs to be understood and addressed. After Fukushima accident, lots of family left their area willingly or unwillingly.

Everybody should realize the radiation between man and women or other member. A man aged of 80 years Suzuki* live in the north Tokyo. He shifted from a tiny town. He lives in a foxhole. Suzuki* said “I live alone. My family has been lived in Tochigi including my daughter, her husband and also their child. We were coming together but for the purpose of better education of my granddaughters, they went.’

Radiation Disaster and Family

At the age of 35, the wife of Mekew Nehas* and their two small daughters are at Tokyo now. But Nehas* stay in Fukushima for his livelihood. He works a car factory here. It means that, his family has separated. He cannot go once more than twice in Tokyo about a month because of expensive travel fees. As a result, he is mentally ill.

Radiation Disaster and Refugees-Displacement

People may be forced to leave their homes to take up residence in another area. Esero Kajaya* a refugee who is 61 years old. He said, it is difficult to sustain the whole in a floating way. Keko Sewo* said, we can’t go back the same thing; we can’t diminish the radioactive completely. A report published, about 12 percent refugees want to go back to their homeland. Different kind of institution like school, college, hospital, office and court are not operational mode.

The life of refugee falls in mentally pressure. They have no peace of mind. About 3 billion people surrounding Europe, they leave their shelter and lead a miserable life for the fact Chernobyl. Do they have personal independence and the social status existence? How can the bondless people match with the changeable society system or the surrounding environment?

Radiation Disaster and Livelihood

The impacts of a radiation disaster usually result in losses and disruptions to peoples’ lives. Many people are struggling to return their previous life although most of the area is rehabilitated and most of the people are shifted. There are some people who lead their life by water such as fisherman. They can only understand how the radioactive can change their life.

Radiation Disaster and Culture

Somehow the culture creates an innovative thing through an accident. There are lot of architecture monuments beside the new centre of Hiroshima like peace monument, the symbol peace of child, and the destructing building of industry.

What is the meaning of the above example? The atomic bomb of museum in Nagasaki, peace park, the commemorating of injured people, tooling the peace, observance of the anniversary of bomb busting, singing the of song people etc. are the part of Japan’s culture.

There are lots of Dad aim exhibition in Japan and also outside Japan. There were movie exhibited in the cinematography of Berlin based on the accident of Fukushima. Though we saw stamping out the town in the nuclear nation movie, the city mayor tried to club the whole people from his hear.

Radiation Disaster and Resistance

Counter blasts against the dirty town in Germany, about 4 thousand people standing on the road of train in Donenberg’s jungle and about more than 25 thousand people standing in the city of Gorleben. What will this example give? The protestant struggled with the police. As a result, people set fire in the police car.

The topic of atomic electricity is the vital issue after happened in the accident of Fukushima. The CDU government failed in the provincial election after controlling 54 years. But they last their province because of the issue of atomic fuel. The Green Party won the election against the nuclear energy in Germany.

Radiation Disaster and Human Rights

Though the government veto to use rivers water, the population uses it. Without using it, there is no alternative way. Within 1948 to 1952, dirty water with atomic-substance started to spume in Techa River. This water is only the source of drinking water.

Making it harmful for the environment, neighboring people and it stripes the human life in front of the disasters. Is it not human rights abuse? Men catch fish and children are bathing till now. Many people got affected by this manmade radioactivity. Who are responsible? The question comes in front when human rights violated.

Radiation Disaster and Children

More than 40 billion people are affected till now Chernobyl. But within this people about 6 billion are children. The children’s legs are going to be lame because of playing on the radioactive soil. There are lots of problems seen in the children voice. Some of people are overlapping to lame after busting the bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.

Radiation Disaster and Frustration—Death

According to the UN report, within Chernobyl, about 46 billion people live in Belarus. About 10 thousand people died quickly. Till now among 30 thousand dead people, at least 3000 people are dead by suicide. Disappointment or suicide- why? According to the social worker report, at least 1539 refugee died in August. The death rate of aged people had increased three times at the near of atomic plant in Fukushima.

Radiation Disaster and Gender

Gender is a central organizing principle in social life and hence in disaster-affected communities. How is gendered vulnerability to disaster constructed? How do gender relations shape the practice of disaster planning and response in households and organizations?

How is gender relations affected over time by the social experience of disaster? How gender relations operate in households and communities in a disaster situation and during the relief and recovery phase. Are there any difference between gender and age at the process of rehabilitation?

Radiation Disaster and Public Discourse

The mass media presents the radiation disaster and creates as a public discourse. An accident can influence not only nationally but also globally. There are questions raised out about the accident-‘Is anybody responsible for this disaster? Who are responsible for this accident?

At the time of controlling accident, how much are they satisfied? What is the attitude against the creator of radioactive disaster?’ A different kind of fake story may be created for accident and everybody should learn.

Radiation Disaster and Local Knowledge

Can we see the difference among local knowledge, world knowledge and expert knowledge? The reflex ion of expert opinion may occur or not. The medical scientists said, if high radioactivity occurs, everybody should create the atomic tablet. In reality how much people obey this advice?

The international expert along with government said, though there is some radioactivity in the environment of Fukushima there is no harmful threat for health. People aren’t satisfied. They don’t want to go back.

Radiation Disaster and Community

Radiation disaster effects on social relations with family members, friends, neighbors and coworkers. The impact of disasters upon communities recognises that human beings do not function separately but as social groups with interdependence.

Individuals are intrinsically connected to their community in conscious and subconscious ways through collective economic, emotional, physical, spiritual, environmental and cultural etc. It is equally important to understand the impact and disruption to the social capital and connectedness of communities and the need to support the restoration of communities to a functioning state.

Radiation Disaster and Eating Habits

Loss of the ability to take care of the family may cause adjustment difficulties. Receiving financial aid as a stigma and feel challenged in their role as breadwinner. Psychological responses to disasters include short term effects such as shock, anxiety, sleep disturbances and guilt.

Radiation disaster has some long-term and short-term effects. We have no ability to control completely the source of natural radiation. But we should keep the radioactivity in a tolerable level and ensure the welfare for people.

The range of impacts of radiation disaster on a community can be varied from place to place and time to time. When radioactivity increases accident or long term effect, then it will be questionable in the welfare of human being.


1. Radiation means energy that is radiated or transmitted in the form of rays or waves or particles.

2. The WHO defines disasters as, “Any occurrence that causes damage, ecological disruption, loss of human life or deterioration of health and health services on a scale sufficient to warrant an extraordinary response from outside the affected community area.”

3. Natural disasters are environmental events, not (directly) human made, such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, floods, cyclones or more long term epidemics, drought, famine (catastrophic food shortage).

4. Human-made or technological disasters are primarily caused by hardware failure and human error resulting in toxic emissions, for example explosions and transport accidents on setting a chemical spill, leading to insidious air, water and soil pollution and food contamination.

*Collected from Bengali newspaper. Correct spelling of those nouns in English could not be found.


E.L.Quarantelli, Radiation Disasters: Similarities to and differences from other disasters, Disaster Research Center, University of Delaware.
Anthony Oliver-Smith, Anthropological Research on Hazards and Disasters, 1996 by Annual Reviews Inc.

Anderson, M. 1994. “Understanding the Disaster-Development Continuum: Gender Analysis is the Essential Tool.” Focus on Gender 2 (1): 7–10.
Anderson, M. and P. Woodrow. 1998. Rising from the Ashes: Development Strategies in Times of Disaster. Boulder: Lynne Rienner.

Blaikie, P., T. Cannon, I. Davis and B. Wisner. 1994. At Risk: Natural Hazards, People’s Vulnerability, and Disasters. London: Routledge..
Bode, B. 1977. “Disaster, Social Structure, and Myth in the Peruvian Andes: the Genesis of an Explanation.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 293: 246–274.
Robert L. Brent, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Volume 200, Issue 1, January 2009, Pages 4–24,
Anthony Oliver-Smith, Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 25, (1996), pp. 303–328

A Gendered Research Agenda for Disaster Social Science, Elaine Enarson, 16 DEC 2002
Disasters, Volume 22, Issue 2, pages 157–173, June 1998

Journal of Social Issues, Volume 10, Issue 3, pages 26–41, published: 14 APR 2010
Charles E. Fritz and Eli S. Marks, The NORC Studies of Human Behavior in Disaster, published: 14 APR 2010

Paula Hancocks, Fukushima’s nuclear power mess: Five big questions, CNN, November 7, 2013
Human Organization Journal, Society for Applied Anthropology, Volume 52, Number 1 / Spring 1993
Gender and Health in Disasters, WHO, Department of Gender and Women’s Health 20, Avenue Appia, Geneva, Switzerland

Davide Torsello, Cultural Reverberations among Fukushima Radiations: Institutional vs Emotional Versions of the Nuclear Accident, Urbanities, Vol-3, No-1, May 2013
Lidia K.C. Manzo, May 2013, Visual Approaches to Urban Ethnography, Urbanities, Vol-3, No-1


About পরিবার.নেট

পরিবার বিষয়ক অনলাইন ম্যাগাজিন ‘পরিবার ডটনেট’ এর যাত্রা শুরু ২০১৭ সালে। পরিবার ডটনেট এর উদ্দেশ্য পরিবারকে সময় দান, পরিবারের যত্ন নেয়া, পারস্পরিক বন্ধনকে সুদৃঢ় করা, পারিবারিক পর্যায়েই বহুবিধ সমস্যা সমাধানের মানসিকতা তৈরি করে সমাজকে সুন্দর করার ব্যাপারে সচেতনতা বৃদ্ধি করা। পরিবার ডটনেট চায়- পারিবারিক সম্পর্কগুলো হবে মজবুত, জীবনে বজায় থাকবে সুষ্ঠুতা, ঘরে ঘরে জ্বলবে আশার আলো, শান্তিময় হবে প্রতিটি গৃহ, প্রতিটি পরিবারের সদস্যদের মানবিক মান-মর্যাদা-সুখ নিশ্চিত হবে । আগ্রহী যে কেউ পরিবার ডটনেট এর সাথে সঙ্গতিপূর্ণ যেকোনো বিষয়ে লেখা ছাড়াও পাঠাতে পারেন ছবি, ভিডিও ও কার্টুন। নিজের শখ-স্বপ্ন-অনুভূতি-অভিজ্ঞতা ছড়িয়ে দিতে পারেন সবার মাঝে। কনটেন্টের সাথে আপনার নাম-পরিচয়-ছবিও পাঠাবেন। ইমেইল:

View all posts by পরিবার.নেট →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *