Children’s perspectives on the impact of the Hazelwood mine fire and subsequent smoke event

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Abstract

Background: Disaster response and recovery researchers and policy makers are increasingly attempting to represent the views of children and adolescents alongside those of adults and other community members following disasters. Objective: Children’s and adolescents’ perspectives regarding the impacts and complications of the 2014 Hazelwood coal mine fire and ongoing smoke pollution event were investigated. Method: Sixty-nine children and adolescents (aged 8–16 years) were interviewed using a semi-structured interview methodology and thematic analysis used to analyse the interviews. Results: The children and adolescents revealed that the smoke and the response of schools, family members and community impacted the social, emotional and academic wellbeing of some children, while others experienced little impact from the event. Some reported awareness of the event complications on their parents and the community, and demonstrated skills to care for themselves and others, and to participate in disaster risk reduction efforts. Conclusion: The perspective of children and adolescents about the consequences of the fire and ensuing circumstances yield important insights which could incorporated into trauma-informed practices and disaster preparation, response and rehabilitation programs to reduce children’s and adolescents’ vulnerability and to increase their agency following disasters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)707-724
Number of pages18
JournalChild & Youth Care Forum
Volume49
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Children
  • Recovery
  • Response
  • Smoke event

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