Resettled refugee community perspectives to the Canterbury earthquakes

Jay Marlowe (School of Counselling, Human Services and Social Work, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Publication date: 11 November 2013



This research project examined resettled refugees’ perspectives on the Canterbury Earthquakes to better understand the organisational implications for disaster preparedness and response with culturally and linguistically diverse groups.


The method of data collection for this exploratory pilot study involved conducting semi-structured focus group discussions during January 2012 with the Bhutanese, Afghani and Ethiopian communities. The project was conducted in partnership with Refugee Services Aotearoa which is New Zealand's primary refugee resettlement organisation.


The participant comments identify the importance of local ethnic community responses to a natural disaster. The need for a pre-established meeting centre(s) and community liaisons with key support organisations was highlighted as vital. Central to recovery is how organisations can work alongside refugee communities in disaster preparedness and response opportunities.


The paper offers insight into the additional considerations of disaster risk reduction strategies with refugee background communities – a group that is relatively under-researched in disaster contexts.



This research was supported particularly with the assistance of Anne-Marie Reynolds from Refugee Services Aotearoa who helped with third-party recruitment and advice in the analysis phase. This project was supported by a University of Auckland small-scale research grant.


Marlowe, J. (2013), "Resettled refugee community perspectives to the Canterbury earthquakes", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 22 No. 5, pp. 434-444.

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