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Evaluation of Australian Red Cross’ psychosocial response to the Queensland Floods 2010-2011 and Cyclone Yasi: Final report
reportposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by B Stapleton, Kevin Ronan
An executive summary details background, findings and main recommendations. Australian Red Cross has provided humanitarian response to disasters since 1914, working within emergency management arrangements in each state and territory to meet people’s basic needs in times of emergencies. In 2011, Queensland experienced one of its worst natural disasters on record. The effects of the Queensland Floods and Cyclone Yasi were far-reaching, impacting more than 75% of the State. The damage caused by these events created a wide range of psychosocial problems experienced at the individual, family, community and societal levels. In response, Red Cross Emergency Services personnel (volunteers and staff) provided psychosocial assistance to people affected by these disasters through the Red Cross Personal Support program. The Red Cross Personal Support program involves the provision of information, practical assistance, emotional support, assessment of people’s immediate needs, promotion of peoples’ self-efficacy and referral to other support agencies and services as required. Red Cross deployed more than 1400 Emergency Services personnel in disaster settings such as evacuation/relief centres, recovery centres, visiting people in their homes and businesses, community recovery events and community engagement projects. At the time of writing, Red Cross Emergency Services personnel continue to provide Personal Support in communities still recovering from the effects of the Queensland Floods or Cyclone Yasi. Whilst thousands of people affected by disaster have received psychosocial assistance through the Red Cross Personal Support program, little is known about its effectiveness in helping people prepare for, respond to, and recover from the effects of disaster. As part of a strategic re-positioning and a renewal of the organisation in 2008, Australian Red Cross committed to developing and enhancing their programs through the use of the “current, relevant and reliable evidence”. Research has shown that evidence-based improvements to humanitarian performance are important. For these reasons, Red Cross Personal Support provided in response to the Queensland Floods 2010-2011 and Cyclone Yasi was evaluated in this study to provide relevant knowledge, improved understanding of Personal Support, and an improved evidence-base for future delivery of Personal Support and related services.