The trauma of the cyclone has changed us forever: self-reliance, vulnerability and resilience among older Australians in cyclone prone areas

Astill, Sandra, and Miller, Evonne (2017) The trauma of the cyclone has changed us forever: self-reliance, vulnerability and resilience among older Australians in cyclone prone areas. Ageing and Society. pp. 1-27. (In Press)

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Abstract

The combination of population ageing and climate change is creating a new threat for many Australian coastal hamlets vulnerable to the impact of tropical cyclones. Increasingly, elderly people are facing future tropical cyclones alone, without support from family and friends, relying instead on already stretched government and authority resources, despite Emergency Management Australia's (EMA) policy expectation that all citizens must be self-reliant. This research explored the future self-reliance and disaster resilience of coastal hamlets through the lens of the Social Cognitive Theory by outlining the findings from focus groups, personal interviews and questionnaires involving participants aged over 65 years of age, residing in townships previously impacted by Cyclone Larry (in 2006) and Cyclone Yasi (in 2011). Participants recalled a lack of social support following the cyclones, a fear of evacuating their homes, as well as the trauma of recovering from such intense destruction. Respondents were also concerned about the physical, cognitive and financial impacts of ageing on their ability to prepare and recover from future cyclones, frightened that experiences from the past might be repeated in the future, contributing to feelings of isolation, frustration and the loss of community and a rethinking of ageing in the place of their choice. These considerations impact on the dependence EMA has that all citizens will remain self-reliant when faced with a natural hazard and should be considered when making future policy decisions in relation to more isolated coastal townships.

Item ID: 45675
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: ageing population, cyclones, natural disaster, self-reliance, resilience, coastal hamlets
ISSN: 1469-1779
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2017 23:11
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1604 Human Geography > 160403 Social and Cultural Geography @ 80%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1603 Demography > 160305 Population Trends and Policies @ 20%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920401 Behaviour and Health @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960311 Social Impacts of Climate Change and Variability @ 20%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 40%
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