New Zealand: The Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information (CRCSI) funded a research project to the University of Canterbury to study impact of 2011 Christchurch earthquake on people’s health.
According to Director of the GeoHealth Laboratory at the University of Canterbury and Professor of Gepgrapht, Simon Kingham; GIS will be used to estimate exposure to physical damage and community disruption, and spatial statistical methods will be developed on a neighbourhood level rather than city-wide scale.
“Since September 2010, the quality of life for residents of the greater Christchurch area has been severely impacted. It is not yet known, however, what the links are between stress-related health outcomes and the level of neighbourhood damage. In finding answers and understanding these relationships, we will be able to calculate the optimal targeting of health services following natural disasters,” he said.
Mike Ardagh, Head of the Emergency Department at Christchurch Hospital and Professor of Emergency Medicine, commented, “We don’t understand the drivers of health demand following earthquakes, but suspect that vulnerable communities will be more affected. This research will help us target the provision of health care better in the future.”