Earthquake. Perspectives on Earthquake Disasters

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The article focuses on the long-term health of a rural male population exposed to a major earthquake event in Chile, in In considering potential lessons for intervention, the results must be interpreted within the context of the construction of male identities in a rural community, informed by generally conservative values and binary male-female gender roles. Earthquakes - Impact, Community Vulnerability and Resilience.

The present article aims to describe the long-term health impacts of a earthquake on men in a rural community. Survivors of natural disasters experience traumatic effects, whose intensity and gravity can vary in relation to risk factors present before, during and after the disaster event [ 1 ].

Memory and Earthquake Forgetfulness in India

Previous studies have found that individuals exposed to a disaster event exhibit comparatively high incidences of depressive and somatic symptoms, emotional distress, memory impairment [ 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 ]. For example, in a study of adults living in rural Australian communities, he was demonstrated that psychological distress levels were higher in individuals exposed to a disaster event than in those who were not [ 8 ].

Within populations of male disaster survivors, elderly individuals appear to be the most vulnerable [ 10 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 14 ], due to such factors as the presence of various health problems, reduced physical and cognitive autonomy, and hearing loss [ 15 , 16 , 17 , 18 ].

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Other studies have also confirmed that the elderly are at higher risk of injury and death during and following exposure to a disaster event [ 13 , 19 , 20 , 21 , 22 , 23 ]. A number of the health impacts of disasters identified in previous studies of rural populations appear to be linked with socio-demographic trends specific to these communities. According some studies, the stress levels of rural community residents in Canada are higher than those of individuals living in other types of communities [ 24 ].

This finding appears to be associated with the growing exodus of younger rural populations towards urban centres, resulting in such changes as economic restructuring and loss of social capital. These results parallel those of similar studies conducted in Australia and Norway, which also demonstrate high levels of stress and depression in rural populations [ 27 , 28 ]. In the case of Chile, although the overall number of suicides is higher in urban centers than in the less populous rural zones, the proportional suicide rate is higher in rural communities [ 29 ].

As certain authors have argued, higher suicide rates among men than among women point to high levels of mental anguish and greater difficulties in facing changing circumstances, such as those linked with social, economic, and environmental crises [ 30 , 33 , 34 ]. Moreover, suicide rates appear to be particularly high for men involved in specifically rural professions, such as fishing, agriculture, and forestry [ 35 , 36 ]. In terms of the physical health of men living in rural communities, a study carried out in the United States has shown that the prevalence of diabetes and mortality linked with coronary diseases was higher in rural than in urban communities [ 37 , 38 ].

It appears also that residents of rural regions exhibit higher rates of chronic illnesses than do their urban counterparts [ 39 , 40 , 41 , 42 , 43 ] and that obesity is a major contributing factor in these disparities [ 44 ]. In addition, rural men exhibit higher rates of oral health problems [ 45 ], a trend that seems particularly pronounced among men with low levels of education [ 46 , 47 ]. The health risk factors most commonly identified with men residing in rural regions are poverty, obesity [ 37 , 44 , 48 ] and tobacco use [ 49 , 50 ].

Based on the results noted in the available literature, research suggests that men living in rural regions present higher incidences of physical and mental health problems than do men living in urban centers; the same finding also holds for rural men when compared with both rural and urban women.

Although the impacts of natural disasters on survivors have received attention in the literature, little has been discerned as to long-term health outcomes for men exposed to natural disasters specific to rural contexts. The present article seeks to bridge that gap in the research. The earthquake caused enormous damages: 81, homes were destroyed and another , were severely damaged [ 51 ]; public infrastructures also suffered significant damages. The destruction most severely affected those most vulnerable, highlighting and often exacerbating pre-existing socioeconomic inequalities.

The Chilean earthquake of prompted countries such as Australia, New Zealand and China to develop comprehensive earthquake response initiatives. The Chilean response was to adapt the scope of certain institutions in the event of natural disasters. Most notably, before 27 February , natural disasters were the purview of the National Office of Emergencies, created in However, the highly centralized administration structures of these state institutions results in substantial delays in terms of resource management, communications, and collaboration with other federal, provincial, and community actors.

The author concludes that, when faced with major emergencies, the Chilean state has been more preoccupied with strengthening its communications system and maintaining the operational continuity of its institutions, rather than with investing in human capital.


The majority of explanatory theories of the male gender fail to acknowledge its positive aspects, which can be harnessed preventively to counter concomitant negative aspects, salutogenic approach provides a way of rectifying this lacuna [ 55 ]. According to the salutogenic model, an individual who perceives life as a coherent and meaningful whole is more likely to respond positively to difficulties than someone who perceives life as ruled by random events and, consequently, considers challenging situations to be the result of uncontrollable misfortune [ 55 ]. Salutogenesis has become a widely adopted concept in public health, particularly in health promotion.

The present study was mixed, exploratory in nature, and involved a small number of participants. Moreover, the dearth of data on the health of men exposed to earthquake events in rural communities did not allow for comparative analysis in light of previous results. The sample was constituted using a non-probabilistic procedure. Every participant received all information necessary to fully understand the objectives and implications of the study. They were also informed of the means by which their anonymity would be protected.

Earthquake : perspectives on earthquake disasters / | Boulder

Additional participants were recruited using the snowball method [ 61 , 62 ], that is, the initial participants referred additional respondents. Individual interview locations and schedules were established with each participant. Data collection took place in the period December —February The primary researcher collected the study data in the course of semi-directed, face-to-face interviews recorded on audio media. For the purposes of the study, an interview guide originally developed in French was adapted into Spanish using a double back-translation method, which maximized the validity of questions presented to participants [ 63 ].

The sociodemographic characteristics of respondents were collected through a brief questionnaire containing exclusively closed questions. A second instrument served to identify the presence or absence of post-traumatic stress manifestations using the Impact of Event Scale-Revised IES-R [ 64 ]. The IES-R includes 22 items assessing PTS intrusion and avoidance experiences in the week preceding the application of the questionnaire. The collected qualitative data were processed using a thematic analysis procedure.

The information collected using the IES-R self-administered questionnaire [ 64 ] were analyzed in terms of proportion as a relative frequency and subjected to binary classification, by age group, into men aged 54 and younger and men aged 55 and older. All study participants were citizens and residents of Chile. No ethical certificate: All participants were presented with a consent form informing them of the implications of their choice to participate in the study.

Participation was entirely voluntary and all participants were informed that they could withdraw from the study at any moment without justifying their decision and without negative consequences. Data collected during interviews were kept, unaltered, in a locked file cabinet accessible by only one designated member of the research team. Pseudonyms were attributed to each participant in order to safeguard their confidentiality. Education levels among the sample were relatively low: only eight participants had completed a secondary education.

A significant majority It was one of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded and caused severe damages across the coastal region. The physical health problems described in the present section were self-declared by participants. The data collected during participant interviews show that the male respondents suffered from a variety of illnesses prior to the earthquake event of 27 February We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us.

Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :. Donate Now. Acknowledgments We thank all the children of the participating schools, together with the school head, their teachers, and their parents, for their collaboration. References 1. The psychological impacts of major disasters. Aust Nz J Psychiat.

Galambos CM. Natural disasters: Health and mental health considerations.

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Health Soc Work. View Article Google Scholar 3. Post-traumatic stress disorder following disasters: A systematic review. Psychol Med. Kar N. Psychological impact of disasters on children: Review of assessment and interventions. World J Pediatr. Disasters and youth: A meta-analytic examination of posttraumatic stress.

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J Consult Clin Psych. Disasters and their impact on child development: Introduction to the special section. Child Dev. The 29th May Emilia Romagna earthquake. The 20th May Emilia Romagna earthquake. Group Process Interg. View Article Google Scholar Denham SA. Emotional development in young children.

View of Islam on earthquakes, human vitality and disaster

New York: Guilford; Helping children cope with disasters. Does a non-destructive earthquake cause posttraumatic stress disorder? A cross-sectional study.