Multi-agency community engagement during disaster recovery: Lessons from two New Zealand earthquake events

David Johnston, Julia Becker, Douglas Paton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to look at the role of communityparticipation in reducing anxiety and trauma in communities during two NewZealand earthquakes: the 1987 Edgecumbe and 2003 Te Anau events and explore theeffectiveness of various approaches in providing information, reducing stress,and facilitating a recovery process.

Design/methodology/approach: The principle methods of data collection were semi‐structuredinterviews were undertaken between October 2006 and March 2007 with keyagencies and individuals involved in the response and comprehensive analysis ofpapers, reports and articles in newspapers. The research was undertaken priorto the 4 September 2010 and 2011 earthquakes in Canterbury, New Zealand, andtherefore community recovery from these events are not discussed in this paper.

Findings: Effective survival and recovery from disasters depends notjust on people's abilities to cope with the physical impacts of the event, butalso on how the societal environment complements and supports the complex andprotracted processes of community recovery. Central to recovery is how societyorganises, mobilises and coordinates the diverse range of organizational andprofessional resources that can be called upon to assist recovery.

Originality/value: The paper offers insight into the effectiveness and benefitof incorporating of community participation in reducing anxiety and trauma incommunities during earthquakes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-268
Number of pages17
JournalDisaster Prevention & Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


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