"Out of our control": living through cyclone Yasi

Woods, Cindy, West, Caryn, Buettner, Petra, and Usher, Kim (2014) "Out of our control": living through cyclone Yasi. International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-Being, 9. 19821. pp. 1-11.

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The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of people who lived through Cyclone Yasi on 3 February 2011. Data from two open-ended questions (Q1: n=344; and Q2: n=339) within a survey completed by 433 residents of cycloneaffected areas between Cairns and Townsville, Australia, were analysed using a qualitative, thematic approach. Experiences were portrayed in three main themes: (1) living in the mode of existential threat describes survivors' sense of panic and feeling at the mercy of nature as they feared for their life; (2) unforgettable memories describe feelings of emotional helplessness and the unimaginable chaos that the cyclone wrought; and (3) centrality of others shows how community support and closeness helped alleviate losses and uncertainty. A critical finding from this study was the negative role of the media in escalating fears for life prior to and during the cyclone, highlighting the need for government, community leaders, and health professionals to have a media plan in place to ensure that disaster warnings are taken seriously without inciting unnecessary panic. Although survivors experienced extreme vulnerability and a threat to life, the disaster also brought communities closer together and connected family, friends, and neighbours through the caring, support, and help they offered each other. This highlights the central role of others during the recovery process and underlines the importance of promoting and facilitating social support to aid recovery post disaster.

Item ID: 31387
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1748-2631
Keywords: Australia, cyclone, mental health, disasters, emergency preparedness, qualitative research
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©2014 C. Woods et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.

Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2014 02:04
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1110 Nursing > 111099 Nursing not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920210 Nursing @ 100%
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