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New study to investigate impact of the 2022 floods on marginalised groups

A sign indicating recovery centre on Lismore campus

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Published
18 January 2024

Researchers at Southern Cross University are inviting people from marginalised groups to share their experiences of the 2022 Northern Rivers floods.

People who identify as a migrant or refugee, experiencing homelessness, or as sexuality and/or gender diverse, are invited to share their story on the immediate and long-term impacts of the 2022 Northern Rivers floods. This may include their health and wellbeing, and the adequacy of the flood response and recovery efforts in addressing their needs.

Associate Professor Matthew Leach from the University's National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine is leading the research. He said that the study would inform future flood response and recovery efforts for marginalised populations.

“We know from overseas studies that marginalised groups are disproportionately impacted by floods, but what we do not fully understand is whether this is also the case in Australia,” said Associate Professor Leach.

“We know that a one-size-fits-all approach to flood recovery is not optimal, and in fact, is likely to heighten the vulnerability and adversely impact the health and wellbeing of marginalised groups.”

Matthew Leach

“The findings from this study will determine the extent to which the health and wellbeing needs of marginalised groups have or have not been met to date, and how future flood response and recovery efforts might better serve those needs.”

In 2022, the Northern Rivers region experienced catastrophic floods. The event was the most expensive natural disaster in Australia, according to the Insurance Council of Australia.  Community recovery remains an enduring concern, with wellbeing, mental health and housing major concerns.

“We know that a one-size-fits-all approach to flood recovery is not optimal, and in fact, is likely to heighten the vulnerability and adversely impact the health and wellbeing of marginalised groups,” said Associate Professor Leach.

“Ultimately, it is about recognising the diversity of regional communities, and ensuring appropriate and timely services, resources and infrastructure are put in place to mitigate the impacts of flooding events on these communities.”

The study is open to adults who identify as (a) a migrant or refugee, (b) experiencing homelessness, or (c) sexuality and/or gender diverse. The study will require people to participate in a 30-40 minute interview, either online or at a suitable location in the Northern Rivers. Participants will receive a $50 gift voucher for their contribution to the study.

People can request further information about the study by emailing [email protected], or calling 0407 111 561.

This research has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee at Southern Cross University (SCU HREC: 2023/188).

This study is funded under the VC Flood Recovery Project Scheme.

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