Public Health Responses for Long-term Evacuation and Recovery

 

The long-term effects of natural disasters, evacuation, and prolonged displacement on individuals and communities largely go unrecognized and responsibilities for supporting recovery remain unclear. Responding to these knowledge gaps, the National Collaborating Centres for Public Health (NCCPH) led a joint project to clarify the role of public health to address the long-term health and social impacts of evacuations due to natural disasters. 

Beginning in 2017, the project involved several activities to gather evidence and knowledge, including reviews of literature, interviews with key informants in public health, and Indigenous-led community-based research with two First Nations communities that were adversely affected by evacuations. This work was carried out in partnership with Lilia Yumagulova, Darlene Yellow Old Woman-Munro, and Emily Dicken.

First Nations communities, often hardest hit by natural disasters and long-term evacuations, were given due priority in this work. Drawing heavily from the community-based research, a suite of three documents  was developed. Two case studies and a summary for public health bring forward insights from lived experiences of disaster and evacuation, public health implications, and potential roles for public health to better support long-term emergency planning and recovery. The findings highlight unrecognized priorities and needs of evacuees, as well as underutilized and devalued knowledge of First Nations peoples that may inform public health approaches.

This suite is intended for use by a variety of public health audiences, including medical officers of health, health authority analysts, emergency measures coordinators, policymakers, frontline health care providers, and others working to support First Nations communities through community evacuations due to natural disasters.

 

Documents

Out of the ashes: Ashcroft Indian Band and the Elephant Hill wildfire – Insights for public health responses to long-term evacuation
From the floodwaters: Siksika Nation and the Bow River flood – Insights for public health responses to long-term evacuation
Health and social impacts of long-term evacuation due to natural disasters in First Nations communities: A summary of lessons for public health