Resilience to Hazards

Student project

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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.

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?

Fire Australia Issue Two 2017
2 June, 2017
There is plenty of CRC science in the latest edition of Fire Australia.
Steve Sutton inspects the remains of a house on Simeulue smashed by the 2004 tsunami
30 May, 2017
From a young age, people on northern Indonesia's Simeuleu Island learn that when the earth shakes, run to the hills. What can we learn from Simeulue, and how can we make disaster preparation normal in Australia?
Steve Sutton inspects the remains of a house on Simeulue smashed by the 2004 tsunami
31 October, 2016
On Simeulue Island in northern Indonesia, they learn from a young age that when the earth shakes, run to the hills. What can we learn from Simeulue? How can we make disaster preparation normal?
White Toyota = Whiteboard”, Grace Daniels makes a point late in the late afternoon at the Limurlee workshop
22 September, 2016
Steve Sutton visited a place that's not on a map, and hard to pick out on Google Earth, for a workshop on resilience and emergency management in northern Australia.
Steve Sutton
20 July, 2016
PhD student Steve Sutton has travelled to Indonesia this month to talk to a community about how preparedness played a role in their survival when a tsunami struck.
ARPNet researchers with Steve Sutton in Gunbalanya
6 January, 2016
The steady pulse of wet/dry hazard and threat seems remote to visitors to Indigenous communities in the Top End, but how do the locals feel about it? That is what we're trying to find out.
Workshop participants at Ngukurr.
5 June, 2015
CRC researchers have spent four days deep in Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory discussing the community resilience studies underway in the communities of Ngukurr and Gunbalanya.
Year Type Citation
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.

Key Topics:

All the resources from our 2016 conference

Research program in detail

Where, why and how are Australians dying in floods?

2015-2016 year in review

Bushfire planning with kids ebook

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