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Disaster Nesponse Network News

June 2012

  1. Welcome
  2. APS disaster webinars
  3. Study on young people’s wellbeing following the 2009 Victorian Bushfires
  4. Request for support from people working in tertiary education institutions affected by disasters. 
  5. Psychology Beyond Borders Call for proposals: PBB 2013 Mission Awards
  6. Contact us

Welcome

Dear [firstname,fallback=Sir/Madam],

Last November, the UN sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change wrote a special report entitled: Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation.  More and more, climate scientists are talking publicly about the links between climate change and the increased frequency and intensity of natural disasters.

The Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) maintains a publicly accessible database on emergency events. The EM-DAT (Emergency Events Database) is a comprehensive database carrying data for various types of natural disasters by both country and date (year & month) going back to 1900 (but more reliable for data from 1980 onwards).
Three groups of disasters are distinguished in EM-DAT: natural disasters, technological disasters and complex emergencies. Natural disasters are in turn categorised into 11 main types.  Six of these are categorised as being climate-related (drought, extreme temperature, wildfire, flood, mass movement [wet], storm). 

Oxfam analysed this data to determine trends over the past few decades, and to forecast future patterns of disasters. They reported their findings in terms of total numbers of people affected by an event.  This includes those who suffered physical injuries or illness, as well as those made homeless or who otherwise required immediate assistance during a period of emergency. The focus on physical impacts means that the numbers of affected people are likely to be much higher if they were to also consider psychosocial impacts. 

They reported that the vast majority of people affected by natural disasters suffer from climate-related disasters. According to the Oxfam report, between 1998 and 2007 in an average year, some 243 million people were (physically) affected by climate-related disasters. This totalled 98% of all the people affected by natural disasters in this period.

Predicted changes in the global climate could be expected to increase the frequency and severity of these natural hazards. That is not to say, however, that the projected increase in the numbers of people affected by these climate-related disasters should be solely attributed to climate change. There are a number of other factors involved, including the greater number of people who are likely to be vulnerable to those disasters because of, for example, their location or their poverty.

The Oxfam report also used complex data modelling to predict future outcomes.  According to their calculations, by 2015, on average over 375 million people per year are likely to be affected by climate-related disasters. This is over 50% more than have been affected in an average year during the last decade. (Diamond, W. & Ganeshan, S., 2009,  Background paper to the Oxfam International report The Right to Survive, see www.oxfam.org.uk/right-to-survive.  Published by Oxfam GB.) 

Given these future scenarios, the work of psychologists with expertise in disaster preparedness and recovery is invaluable, and we are extremely grateful to you for your continued interest in this area, and for the efforts that you all make to stay abreast with developments in best-practice approaches for working with vulnerable and affected communities. 

In this newsletter we let you know of a few requests for help that we have recently received from DRN members who are involved in research and projects, as well as other interesting opportunities. 

Dr Susie Burke
Public Interest, Environment and Disaster Response

APS Disaster Webinars

The APS Public Interest team recently asked all APS branches to let them know if they were interested in some professional development opportunities in any of the areas of interest that this team is involved with.  Three branches identified disaster training as a priority. The APS is running a couple of Disaster Webinars (Psychological First Aid on June 13th, Disaster Preparedness on August 15th, as requested) for these branches.  If you are interested in participating in the August 15th Webinar, please contact Monique Wiessner by 8th August, (m.wiessner@psychology.org.au) for more information or to register.  The webinar is free of cost, and runs from 7pm to 8.45pm.

Study on young people’s wellbeing following the 2009 Victorian Bushfires

Putting wellbeing and psychosocial support in place: Tracing young people’s voices and worker’s perspectives on young people’s wellbeing following the 2009 Victorian Bushfires

This is an invitation for psychologists currently or previously providing psychological support to 18 – 25 year olds impacted by the 2009 Victorian Bushfires.

The study seeks to develop a greater understanding of the various ways young people (re) establish wellbeing following the bushfires—from both young people and workers’ perspectives. Specifically, the research explores the psychosocial resources and processes that have been (or might have been) helpful and supportive to this particular cohort of young people. It also investigates how people’s places influence these processes and supports.

Participation involves a 1-hour semi-structured interview inviting psychologists to share their experiences and perspectives on supporting young people after this event

Assistance is also requested with accessing potential young people willing to contribute

This research is being conducted by Samantha Mordech as part of her Masters of Applied Psychology (Community) at Victoria University under the supervision of Dr. Liz Short, School of Social Sciences and Psychology, Victoria University.

For further information or to register your interest please contact Samantha on 0412 210 333 / Samantha.mordech@live.vu.edu.au or Dr Liz Short Liz.Short@vu.edu.au

This research has Victoria University Human Research Ethics Committee approval (HRETH 10/224)

Request for support from people working in tertiary education institutions affected by disasters

Lyn Page, DRN member in NSW, was fortunate to receive funding from DEETYA to assist with rebuilding tertiary education following disasters, specifically the role of counsellors and psychologists in tertiary institutions providing counselling and career services. Part of the funding was to support a return trip to Japan to continue networking with universities there which were affected by the 2011 Earthquake/Tsunami.  The situation in many universities in affected prefectures in Japan is one of decreasing enrolments, and in some cases complete loss of institutions and therefore associated career paths but also loss of social and recreational connections. Lyn’s main task is resource exchange about services in TAFE and Universities in NSW, but she is also hoping to connect with a TAFE or University in an affected area in Queensland or Victoria and hopefully share their experience in any way that may be beneficial.  We are hoping that concern about decreasing university participation may be an effective way of increasing broader health care services.

Lyn would be very grateful for any contacts that people may have that may be able to provide any help in this area, or any research or reports you may have which relate to the impact and recovery strategies in tertiary education.  

Please contact Lyn Page at Lyn.Page1@det.nsw.edu.au if you have any questions or something to offer.

Psychology Beyond Borders Call for proposals: PBB 2013 Mission Awards

Psychology Beyond Borders (PBB) is seeking proposals for projects that support our mission.  PBB is an international non-profit organization focusing on the psychosocial impacts of disasters, armed conflicts, and terrorism. PBB is seeking to fund research and service-oriented projects that support work in this area, with a particular focus on work that addresses issues of how the psychosocial impact of disasters and mass traumas are affected by repetitive and chronic exposure to traumatic events, economic loss and empowerment, preparedness and resilience programs, and prevention.

PBB logoPsychology Beyond Borders (PBB) is seeking proposals for projects that support our mission.  PBB is an international non-profit organization focusing on the psychosocial impacts of disasters, armed conflicts, and terrorism. PBB is seeking to fund research and service-oriented projects that support work in this area, with a particular focus on work that addresses issues of how the psychosocial impact of disasters and mass traumas are affected by repetitive and chronic exposure to traumatic events, economic loss and empowerment, preparedness and resilience programs, and prevention.

FOCUS AREAS FOR 2013 AWARDS

  1. Repetitive Exposure to Disaster: Including research and service projects investigating the effects of repeated exposure and specific intervention methods for repeatedly exposed populations.
  2. Preparedness: Including research and service projects designed to teach and evaluate programs to prepare people for disasters.
  3. Resilience: Including research and service projects designed to further understand the risk and resilience profile of potentially vulnerable communities and societies and developing effective means for building societal resilience in the face of disasters, armed conflict and terrorism.
  4. Prevention: Including research and service programs aimed at peace building and nonviolent conflict resolution.

We seek research and action-oriented projects that contribute to at least one of the focus areas described above. Projects will be assessed on their empirical rigor and service impact. PBB is most interested in funding applications which Lead the Field in research advancement.

PROJECT FUNDING AND DURATION 

Projects of $5,000 - $10,000 (USD) will be funded with an expected project duration of one year (beginning May 2013).

ELIGIBILITY

Applicants must be affiliated with a university or non-profit organization. PBB encourages applications from international organizations or individuals who represent diversity. 

APPLICATION DETAILS

For application details and summaries of past Mission Awards projects, click here.
To download the application cover page and checklist, click here.
Applications are due October 12, 2012.
Please direct any questions to awards@pbbmail.org

Contact us

If you have feedback on DRN News, or useful information or suggestions that you would like us to include in DRN News, please contact us at drn@psychology.org.au.


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