oa Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies - Post-disaster research : is there gold worth the rush? : opinion paper



Dynes, Haas and Quarantelli (1967) once set the agenda for disaster research as follows: high priority is given to those disasters which are quick and unexpected, which affect more than one industrial community, where there is heavy property damage, where the number of casualties exceeds 100 and which elicits the participation of national organizations during the emergency period. (p. 46)

Almost 50 years afterwards, major disasters continue to stir the prime interest of researchers, who often immediately rush to the affected areas to conduct studies of various kinds, from hazards observations to social surveys on the impact of the events and post-traumatic stress disorder research. Stallings (2007:56) actually suggests that 'arriving on site as soon as possible is generally seen by field researchers as key to the success of their work'. Recently, this 'research gold rush' has been observed in the regions hit by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Hurricane Katrina in the United States of America (USA) in 2005, the 2008 earthquake in China, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the 2010-2011 Canterbury earthquakes in New Zealand and the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.


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