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Temporary Sheltering, Psychological Stress Symptoms, and Perceptions of Recovery.

Publication Type : Journal Article

Source : Natural Hazards Review, 2015

Url :

Campus : Amritapuri

School : School for Sustainable Futures

Department : Sustainable Development

Verified : No

Year : 2014

Abstract : It is crucial to understand how postdisaster shelter choices affect disaster survivors' stress. However, no study has investigated the association of different types of temporary shelters on psychological stress symptoms and the possible consequences for long-term recovery. This research aims to fill this gap by using panel data (2005 and 2008) collected from 531 households residing in seven coastal settlements in the Nagapattinam District of Tamil Nadu, which was affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. This study investigates how elements of temporary sheltering (e. g., what type, where, for how long) influence disaster survivors' experiences of psychological stress symptoms. The authors approached postdisaster shelter not simply as a basic material human need, but as an integral part of social identity, mental wellbeing, and the reconstitution of economic livelihood. They found a statistically significant decrease in the psychological stress symptoms in disaster survivors three and half years after the tsunami. They also found that although most of the tsunami survivors chose religious buildings and community halls as temporary shelters, they did not fare as well as those who sheltered in mass government and nongovernmental organization (NGO) shelters, or public buildings, on the psychological stress index. This suggests that the constrained choices available to disaster survivors may force them to seek shelter in dangerous and uncomfortable but familiar places within their communities rather than shelter in better-equipped, government or NGO shelters. This could be with the intent of beginning to work on rehousing themselves and to re-establish their normal routines and networks or to try and reunite with lost loved ones. Thus, temporary sheltering is inevitably intertwined with housing repair, reconstruction, and long-term recovery. Given these findings, it is suggested that government and nonprofit agencies remain cognizant of this fact and involve people from different settlements to tailor siting and setting up of temporary shelters to suit the requirements of the people. This would help to ensure that disaster survivors suffer from fewer stress symptoms related to sheltering and make a smoother transition to achieving long-term recovery. (C) 2014 American Society of Civil Engineers.

Cite this Research Publication : Arlikatti, S., Andrew, S., Kendra, J. & Prater, C.S. "Temporary Sheltering, Psychological StressSymptoms, and Perceptions of Recovery", Natural Hazards Review, 2015

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