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Volume 2010-2

The Australasian Journal of Disaster
and Trauma Studies
ISSN:  1174-4707
Volume : 2010-2

Volume : 2010-2

Li-Wen Liu, Department of Social Work, Tunghai University, Taiwan. Email: lwliu@thu.edu.tw
Li-Ju Jang, Department of Medical Sociology & Social Work , Chung Shan Medical University, Taiwan.
Jieh-Jiuh Wang, Department of Architecture / Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Disaster Management , Ming-Chuan University, Taiwan.
Shu-Twu Wang, Department of Social Work , National Ping Tung University of Science and Technology, Taiwan.
Fang-Yie Leu, Computer Science Department , Tunghai University, Taiwan.

Li-Wen Liu

Department of Social Work
Tunghai University

Li-Ju Jang

Department of Medical Sociology & Social Work
Chung Shan Medical University

Jieh-Jiuh Wang

Department of Architecture / Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Disaster Management
Ming-Chuan University

Shu-Twu Wang

Department of Social Work
National Ping Tung University of Science and Technology

Fang-Yie Leu

Computer Science Department
Tunghai University

Special Issue on “Disaster Management: Views from the 921 Earthquake”

A decade ago, in the midnight of September 21, people in Taiwan painfully witnessed the worst earthquake in a century which caused thousands of deaths and injuries, as well as uncountable loss of properties. However, we should praise those who have made efforts to participate in the disaster relief and community reconstructions over the past ten years, including government at all levels, nonprofit organizations, numerous volunteers, and disaster survivors themselves.

In fact, in the past few years, natural disasters seem to be increasing around the world, such as the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004, Hurricane Katrina of 2005, Pakistan Earthquake of 2005, and Chinese 512 Earthquake of 2008. Most recently, Taiwan experienced another severe disaster, Typhoon Morakot, in August 2009 resulting in the worst flood in 50 years. It damaged hundreds of bridges, roads, and houses. The casualties and loss of properties simply are overwhelming.

As disasters strike suddenly and unexpectedly, these lessons from previous experiences must be seen as the foundation for better preparation for future disasters management. It is an honor for our research team to be invited by Dr. Douglas Paton, the Chief Editor of Australasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies, to guest-edit a special issue of the journal as “The Tenth Anniversary of September 21 Earthquake Memorial.” The articles presented in this special issue include a wide range of expertise regarding disaster management across different fields related to the 921 Earthquake, such as disaster preparedness, risk management, rescue and relief operation, as well as group intervention and psychological rehabilitation. All the articles have been subjected to the blind review process and the reviewers have significantly contributed to improve the quality of articles. However, we must admit that the criterion for the articles selection in this special issue have been putting more emphasis on their contribution to disaster management in practice than expected scholarly rigor.

In the first article, Wu, Chen, Chuo, and Huang argued that developing evacuation planning, and setting up a monitoring with warning system are the best ways to reduce disaster severity loss of life. They evaluated the effectiveness of the evacuation and monitoring system, which was developed in the following year of the 921 Earthquake occurred, by examining the amount of casualties for debris flows caused by Typhoon Toraji of 2001 and Typhoon Mindulle of 2004 at the affected villages. In the second article, Maa and Wang emphasized the importance to routinely implement emergency scenarios and exercises plan at the national level as a mechanism for validating urban earthquake disaster management policies. This paper examined the existing plans and implementation processes with regard to the emergency scenarios and excises at the national level and concluded that the planning and implementation of earthquake scenario exercises over the past three years helpful to uncover some key topics of concern regarding earthquake disasters in Taiwan.

As military troops often serve as the front line workers for helping with digging and transporting deceased disaster victims in Taiwan, Hu and Kuo, in the third paper, describe the process of how they developed a group intervention program by conducting a series of debriefing sessions for those soldiers who served as body handlers in the 921 Earthquake rescue actions and who experienced ASD symptoms. The fourth article is a case study about the grief process of a child survivor of the 921 Earthquake. Peng describes how the utilization of expressive art materials could help a boy, who experienced traumatic reactions after the catastrophe, to cope with grief for his deceased mother. The fifth article is a case study on posttraumatic growth of the Jen-Ai Hospital. Hsu and Su report on the Hospital’s response to the medical assistance and its quick reconstruction. They share successful stories of recovery in hope of providing learning experiences for other hospitals located in disaster prone areas.

While all the above articles inform understanding of pre-disaster reduction and post-disaster response and relief from different angles, the final article highlighted the importance of community capacity and knowledge building from a multiple disciplinary perspective. The authors propose a cross-disciplinary model which aims to develop a community disaster management support system. This model focuses on early risk management and explores potential disaster risks with its strengths in communities in the variety of dimensions, including environmental factors, socioeconomics and cultural factors, and community capital with residential resiliencies. This paper encouraged the use of technology in disaster monitoring. It also suggests that collaboration among the government, nonprofit organizations, as well as businesses can strengthen community resilience and construct disaster resistant communities.

Finally, we would like to thank all the contributors and reviewers of the articles for devoting their efforts to make the special issue possible. We hope that this special issue makes contribution toward disaster management in all aspects.


Li-Wen Liu, Li-Ju Jang, Jieh-Jiuh Wang, Shu-Twu Wang & Fang-Yie Leu © 2010. The authors assign to the Australasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies at Massey University a non-exclusive licence to use this document for personal use and in courses of instruction provided that the article is used in full and this copyright statement is reproduced. The authors also grant a non-exclusive licence to Massey University to publish this document in full on the World Wide Web and for the document to be published on mirrors on the World Wide Web. Any other usage is prohibited without the express permission of the authors.

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