Geographic variations in natural disaster impact (4.45)

This research will test whether there is a spatial relationship between the extent of physical damage from natural disasters and non-injury psycho-social stress related health outcomes that while not acute, may significantly impact rehabilitation and reconstruction of an affected location.

The hypothesis is that adverse stress-related health outcomes (eg cardiovascular risk or anxiety) are greater among people who have experienced greater physical damage to their communities and homes than other those who have experienced less damage, but who also live in the city.

The PhD will focus on the 2010-11 Christchurch earthquakes. GIS will be used to estimate exposure to physical damage and community disruption; and spatial statistical methods will be developed to model exposure indicators to health data at a fine spatial scale. Point level hospital Emergency Department attendance and Healthline telephone data will be used to measure health outcomes.


The analyses of mood and anxiety disorders in Christchurch after the 2010/11 earthquakes has been completed. A paper on the results has been prepared, but is yet to be submitted.

Presentations of the research have been made at the XVth International Symposium in Medical/Health Geography in Michigan US, the Environment and Health Conference of ISEE, ISES and ISIAQ, the CRCSI conference in Christchurch and the Rhise Group Symposium in Christchurch.

Project Overview

Simon Kingham at CRCSI Conference 2012

This information will be invaluable for efficiently planning and targeting health services in the event of further significant natural disasters around the world

Project Participants

University of Canterbury   -   Curtin University

Ministry of Health NZ   -   Canterbury District Health Board   -   Department of Health WA