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Health and social impacts of flood disaster: responding to needs and implications for practice.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>10/2010
<mark>Journal</mark>Disasters
Issue number4
Volume34
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)1045-1063
StatePublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Carlisle in northwest England suffered its worse floods for more than 180 years in 2005. A study, reported here, was undertaken to assess the health and social impacts of these floods via in-depth, taped individual and focus-group interviews with people whose homes had been flooded and with agency workers who helped them. Respondents spoke of physical health ailments, psychological stress, water health-and-safety issues related to the floods, and disputes with insurance and construction companies, which they felt had caused and exacerbated psychological health problems. Support workers also suffered from psychological stress. Furthermore, it was found that people had low expectations of a flood and were not prepared. The findings are presented in five sections covering flood risk awareness, water contamination issues, physical health, mental health, and impact on frontline support workers. The discussion focuses on the implications of the findings for policy and practice vis-à-vis psychological health provision, contamination issues, training and support for frontline support workers, matters relating to restoration, and preparation for flooding.