Prepare for disaster and cope better with it, says Red Cross

By Tom Ravlic

Sunday September 5, 2021

New Red Cross Australia research says preparedness for a disaster makes people more resilient in handling it. (Justin/Adobe)

New research from Red Cross Australia says preparedness before a disaster enables people to cope better with the event itself, as they are more resilient in handling the aftermath.

John Richardson, the national resilience adviser for the Red Cross, said the research looks at the experiences of 165 people who had gone through disasters during 2018 and 2019.

It provides evidence that stress levels are lower due to preparedness and there is greater resilience for what comes afterwards

“Emergency recovery is a complex process that can extend for decades, with lasting economic and health impacts,” Richardson said.

“While there’s a widespread assumption that preparedness makes for better recovery, there is little research to prove it, and most preparedness advice focuses on surviving disaster and its immediate aftermath.”

Richardson noted that disaster preparedness is generally low, with about 10% of people saying they do something to plan for a disaster.

He said the number and the impacts of disasters is increasing and there is a need for people to act urgently to get themselves ready.

The report notes that those who are well prepared fare better during and after an event, but there is a range of issues that confront those who do not prepare properly.

“Those who had reported they had not yet recovered were more likely to feel less prepared, more stressed, and not as confident and in control during the emergency,” the report states.

“A greater proportion required government assistance, did not get any preparedness education and if they did it was more often through friends and not the Australian Red Cross, relative to those who had recovered at the time of the survey.

“In this group, there is an over-representation of people earning less than $52,000 per year and they were more likely to live in NSW and Queensland.”


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