Displaced twice? Talking about resilience with a cohort of men from refugee backgrounds who were affected by the 2011 Queensland floods

Correa-Velez, Ignacio & Conteh, Augustine (2013) Displaced twice? Talking about resilience with a cohort of men from refugee backgrounds who were affected by the 2011 Queensland floods. In 9th Annual International Conference of the International Institute for Infrastructure Renewal and Reconstruction, Risk-informed Disaster Management: Planning for Response, Recovery and Resilience, 8-10 July 2013, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

What can we learn from people from refugee backgrounds who have been affected by an environmental disaster? This paper presents the first year findings of a study that is investigating the impact of the 2011 Queensland floods on a cohort of men from refugee backgrounds living in Brisbane and the Toowoom- ba–Gatton region of Southeast Queensland. Between 2008 and 2010, the SettleMEN study yielded pre-disaster measures of health and settlement among 233 refugee men. The current 2012−2013 follow-up study offers a rare opportunity to investigate and describe the impact of an environmental disaster on the health and wellbeing of a group of resettled refugee men who were affected by the 2011 Queensland floods.

Using a mixed-method approach and a peer interviewer model, this paper reports on the exposure to and impact of the floods on the first 100 respondents who were interviewed between September 2012 and March 2013. Overall, we have found that the floods had a considerable economic and psychosocial impact on this group of men, their families and communities in terms of being forced to evacuate their homes, work disrup- tion, loss of income and personal belongings, and emotional distress. Many of these men reported that their previous refugee experience helped them to cope better during and after the floods, and for some, providing assistance to others during the floods impacted positively on their relationship with their neighbours. These findings challenge the Western deficits model that defines former refugees as traumatised victims. Refugee people’s strengths and capabilities should be taken into consideration when developing disaster response strategies at the neighbourhood and community levels.

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ID Code: 76144
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Keywords: CEDM, humanitarian refugees, resilience, coping, floods, natural disaster, social capital
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Emergency & Disaster Management
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 The Author(s)
Deposited On: 14 Sep 2014 21:58
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2015 05:58

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