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

Astill, Sandy & Miller, Evonne (2016) “The trauma of the cyclone has changed us forever”: Self-reliance, vulnerability and resilience among older Australians in cyclone prone areas. Ageing and Society, Article number-e27.

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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.

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ID Code: 98753
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Ageing population, cyclones, natural disaster, self-reliance, resilience, coastal hamlets
DOI: 10.1017/S0144686X1600115X
ISSN: 1469-1779
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > HUMAN GEOGRAPHY (160400) > Social and Cultural Geography (160403)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > HUMAN GEOGRAPHY (160400) > Urban and Regional Studies (excl. Planning) (160404)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Design
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Current > Institutes > Institute for Future Environments
Copyright Owner: Cambridge University Press 2016
Deposited On: 11 Sep 2016 22:46
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2017 05:30

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