Student researcher

Steve Sutton Research Leader

This thesis examines the components of the socio-cultural context of an Indonesian island community that reportedly led to a remarkably low level of casualties during the Indian Ocean Boxing Day tsunami in 2004. Various elements of the social context of the Simeulue Island community are being assessed for their contribution to disaster response behaviour, potentially including community participation, collective efficacy, empowerment and trust as well as the maintenance of traditional disaster response knowledge. The key factors that contributed to the disaster response behaviour will then be considered in Australian cultural settings with a view to improving risk communication and community resilience.

The primary question for this study is: what are the cultural drivers of disaster response behaviour on Simeulue Island and do these have cross-cultural applicability? Also considered is: what is it about the cultural context of south-eastern Australia that diminishes personal responsibility for maintaining personal and family safety in the face of bushfires and natural hazards? At the same time, what is it about the culture of Simeulue that enables individuals to act appropriately in the face of natural hazards?

Year Type Citation
2017 Conference Paper Rumsewicz, M. Research proceedings from the 2017 Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and AFAC Conference. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC & AFAC annual conference 2017 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2017).
2017 Conference Paper Sutton, S. Too good to be true? How a remote island community developed a 100% effective risk communication strategy and what Australia can learn from it. AFAC17 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2017).
2016 Conference Paper Rumsewicz, M. Research proceedings from the 2016 Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and AFAC conference. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC & AFAC annual conference 2016 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2016).
2016 Conference Paper Sutton, S. How do island communities balance disaster resilience and what can mainlanders learn from that?. AFAC16 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2016).
Cultural Drivers of Disaster Risk Reduction Behaviour
11 Sep 2015

This project examines the case study of Simeulue Island - A  rare example of an entire community responding well to the threat of a major disaster – Resulting in very little loss of life.

Steve Sutton Conference Poster 2016
12 Aug 2016

This project is about what went right –a disaster where the whole community responded in exactly the right way, at the right time saving tens of thousands of lives.