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Contents & Abstracts
Volume 2011-2

The Australasian Journal of Disaster
and Trauma Studies
ISSN:  1174-4707
Volume : 2011-2

Special Issue - A Focus on the Canterbury Earthquakes

This journal publication has been revised and is now presented as a series of individual PDF files as linked below.
The complete issue can also be retrieved as a single PDF file.

Contents page -Volume 2011-2


How the 2010 Canterbury (Darfield) earthquake affected earthquake risk perception: Comparing citizens inside and outside the earthquake region
John McClure, Celine Wills, David Johnston & Claudia Recker

Keywords: earthquakes, Canterbury earthquakes, risk perception, perceived earthquake likelihood

This study examined changes in the judgments of the risk of earthquakes before and after the 2010 Darfield, Canterbury earthquake in three cities: Christchurch (Canterbury), Wellington and Palmerston North. Christchurch citizens were chosen because of their direct experience of the earthquake, whereas Wellington and Palmerston North were chosen because their citizens were likely to have different earthquake expectations. Whereas many citizens in Wellington have long expected an earthquake, this is less likely in Palmerston North. Palmerston North therefore provides a comparable sample to Christchurch before the Darfield earthquake. Participants judged the likelihood of an earthquake in different locations before and after the Darfield earthquake. Participants judged earthquake likelihoods for their own city, for the rest of New Zealand, and with participants in Wellington and Palmerston North, the likelihood of another major earthquake in Canterbury. Christchurch participants also reported damage suffered in the earthquake. Expectations of an earthquake occurring in Canterbury were low before the Darfield earthquake in all three samples and rose significantly after that earthquake. Palmerston North expectancies of an earthquake in their own city also rose after the earthquake. In contrast, Wellingtonians’ expectancies of an earthquake in Wellington were higher before the Darfield earthquake and did not rise after that earthquake. These findings clarify the effects of earthquakes and prior expectancies on risk judgments about earthquakes inside and outside the directly affected region.

Sleeplessness, Stress, Cognitive Disruption and Academic Performance Following the September 4, 2010, Christchurch Earthquake
Simon Kemp, William S. Helton, Jessica J. Richardson, Neville M. Blampied & Michael Grimshaw

Keywords: disaster, earthquake, mental health, cognitive disruption, academic performance

Two studies investigated psychological effects of the September 4, 2010 Christchurch earthquake. Study 1 found self-reported sleeplessness, cognitive dysfunction, and heightened stress, depression and anxiety in members of the general public who had experienced the earthquake and aftershocks, but many also reported positive experiences. The self-reported effects were much stronger for women than men. Those scoring higher on neuroticism were worse affected, but otherwise effects varied little with personality. Study 2 examined academic performance by over 9000 University of Canterbury undergraduate students in the second semester (July-October) of 2010 and found no performance decrement for either men or women.

Early Disaster Recovery: A Guide for Communities
Suzanne Vallance

Keywords: community development; community participation; urban resilience; social capital

On September the 4th 2010 and February 22nd 2011 the Canterbury region of New Zealand was shaken by two massive earthquakes. This paper is set broadly within the civil defence and emergency management literature and informed by recent work on community participation and social capital in the building of resilient cities. Work in this area indicates a need to recognise both the formal institutional response to the earthquakes as well as the substantive role communities play in their own recovery. The range of factors that facilitate or hinder community involvement also needs to be better understood. This paper interrogates the assumption that recovery agencies and officials are both willing and able to engage communities who are themselves willing and able to be engaged in accordance with recovery best practice. Case studies of three community groups – CanCERN, Greening the Rubble and Gap Filler – illustrate some of the difficulties associated with becoming a community during the disaster recovery phase. Based on my own observations and experiences, combined with data from approximately 50 in-depth interviews with Christchurch residents and representatives from community groups, the Christchurch City Council, the Earthquake Commission and so on, this paper outlines some practical strategies emerging communities may use in the early disaster recovery phase that then strengthens their ability to‘participate’ in the recovery process.

Rapid response research in Christchurch: Providing evidence for recovery decisions and for future theoretical research
Felicity Powell, Abigail Harding, Jared Thomas & Kate Mora

Keywords: disaster recovery research, Canterbury earthquake, research dissemination, rapid response research, recovery indicators

During the immediate response phase after a disaster event, decision-makers need urgent insight into the impacts of the disaster on affected communities so that support and policy attention are directed to those communities in most need. For researchers to assist decision-making in this vital period, there is a need to adapt their customary research approach in order to provide helpful information in a timely, inexpensive, and non-invasive manner. Traditional research techniques can be applied at a later date when recovery processes are well underway.

Using a case study approach, this paper reports on two research projects commenced after the Canterbury earthquake of 4 September 2010. This research, of necessity, took an applied approach, and, in one instance, employed remote datasets to reveal the impacts of the earthquake during the immediate response phase. In the light of these accounts, the modifications required of researchers to undertake rapid response research after a major hazard event are discussed. Provided the research process engaged in is technically rigorous, there is an opportunity to shift from applied, operational research to improve theoretical knowledge of the recovery phase.

The Management of Portable Toilets in the Eastern Suburbs of Christchurch after the February 22, 2011 Earthquake
R Potangaroa, S Wilkinson, M Zare & P Steinfort

Keywords: portable toilets, management, Christchurch, earthquake

The extent of liquefaction in the eastern suburbs of Christchurch (Aranui, Bexley, Avonside, Avonhead and Dallington) from the February 22 2011 Earthquake resulted in extensive damage to in-ground waste water pipe systems. This caused a huge demand for portable toilets (or port-a-loos) and companies were importing them from outside Canterbury and in some instances from Australia. However, because they were deemed “assets of importance” under legislation, their allocation had to be coordinated by Civil Defence and Emergency Management (CDEM). Consequently, companies supplying them had to ignore requests from residents, businesses and rest homes; and commitments to large events outside of the city such as the Hamilton 400 V8 Supercars and the Pasifika Festival in Auckland were impacted. Frustrations started to show as neighbourhoods questioned the equity of the port-a-loos distribution. The Prime Minister was reported as reassuring citizens in the eastern suburbs in the first week of March that1 “a report about the distribution of port-a-loos and chemical toilets shows allocation has been fair. Key said he has asked Civil Defence about the distribution process and where the toilets been sent. He said there aren’t enough for the scale of the event but that is quickly being rectified and the need for toilets is being reassessed all the time.” Nonetheless, there still remained a deep sense of frustration and exclusion over the equity of the port-a-loos distribution.

This study took the simple approach of mapping where those port-a-loos were on 11-12 March for several areas in the eastern suburbs and this suggested that their distribution was not equitable and was not well done. It reviews the predictive tools available for estimating damage to waste water pipes and asks the question could this situation have been better planned so that pot-a-loo locations could have been better prioritised? And finally it reviews the integral roles of communication and monitoring as part of disaster management strategy.

The impression from this study is that other New Zealand urban centres could or would also be at risk and that work is need to developed more rational management approaches for disaster planning.

Animal welfare impact following the 4 September 2010 Canterbury (Darfield) earthquake
Steve Glassey & Thomas Wilson

Keywords: Canterbury, Darfield, earthquake, emergency, pets, animals, welfare, disaster, New Zealand.

At 4.35am on Saturday 4 September 2010, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck near the township of Darfield in Canterbury leading to widespread damage in Christchurch and the wider central Canterbury region. Though it was reported no lives were lost, that was not entirely correct. Over 3,000 animals perished as a result of the earthquake and 99% of these deaths would have been avoidable if appropriate mitigation measures had been in place. Deaths were predominantly due to zoological vulnerability of birds in captive production farms. Other problems included lack of provision of animal welfare at evacuation centres, issues associated with multiple lost and found pet services, evacuation failure due to pet separation and stress impact on dairy herds and associated milk production. The Canterbury Earthquake has highlighted concerns over a lack of animal emergency welfare planning and capacity in New Zealand, an issue that is being progressed by the National Animal Welfare Emergency Management Group. As animal emergency management becomes better understood by emergency management and veterinary professionals, it is more likely that both sectors will have greater demands placed upon them by national guidelines and community expectations to ensure provisions are made to afford protection of animals in times of disaster. A subsequent and more devastating earthquake struck the region on Monday 22 February 2011; this article however is primarily focused on the events pertaining to the September 4 event.

Commentary Article

Caring for the Carers: the emotional effects of disasters on health care professionals
Peter Huggard

Keywords: compassion fatigue, vicarious traumatisation, burnout, self-care


All papers are protected under the Creative Commons attribution as per our copyright notice.

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