Joe Lebeau/Hashmark Photography Keremeos and area residents were hard hit by both flooding and wildfires in 2018. A research team is delving into the psychological impacts of natural disasters.

UBC team tackles psychological impact of floods, fires in Okanagan

Researchers from UBCO are undertaking research on the impacts of flooding and fires on people

  • Feb. 13, 2019 2:13 p.m.

A research team from UBCO is looking into the long term impacts of flooding, and wildfires on communities using Keremeos and area as their test plot.

“We’ve been actually working in the Similkameen area the last few years looking at mental health concerns, gaps in service. Over the recent last few years with the frequency of flooding and wildfires we said, ‘let’s start looking at how those things are impacting the communities,” said Carolyn Szostak, the principal investigator from UBCO.

Szostak with a team of under graduates are undertaking the research project that could have an impact on communities throughout the province and farther.

Related: Breaking: Snowy Mountain wildfire jumps Similkameen River

“I think the reality is pretty clear, flooding and wildfires are not going to disappear, if anything they are going to increase with frequency and severity and it impacts us on so many levels. If we are better equipped psychologically that could help. We know that mental health impacts physical health and vice versa,” she said.

Although it’s early in the process to note any serious trends, Szostak said higher levels of anxiety and fear are expected among respondents. She also noted front line workers are experiencing a level of fatigue.

Research will study the impacts on the general population, but also zero in on front line workers from firefighters to municipal staff working in Emergency Operation Centres, to counselors in the community.

“We’re trying to learn as much as we can from everyone effected in their various roles. And then hopefully this can be used to identify what the gaps in services are and then movement will happen to fill those gaps,” she said.

Researchers need close to 100 responses to the survey to make their research viable.

Anyone interested in participating or who would like more information can contact by email at carolyn@szostak@ubc.ca or ali.caldwell@alumni.ubc.ca or by telephone 250-807-8736.

To report a typo, email:
editor@keremeosreview.com
.


@TaraBowieBC
editor@keremeosreview.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Harrison students take on the Bunny Run

Harrison Hot Springs Elementary students dressed up for the Easter event

No more mobile vendors on Harrison beach

The approval of an updated business licence bylaw means Nolan Irwin is without a cart

Crown seeking 30 months for Abbotsford vehicle theft, flight from police, Chilliwack crash

Michael Joseph Hasell has 47 criminal convictions on his record in B.C. and Alberta

Harrison Festival releases 2019 line up

The 41st annual Harrison Festival of the Arts will be held from July 12 to 21

BC Ferries to pilot selling beer and wine on select routes

Drinks from select B.C. breweries and VQA wineries to be sold on Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route

VIDEO: Agassiz, Harrison celebrate National Pet Day

From cats and dogs to lizards and chickens, residents showed off the animals that enrich their lives

Langley MP describes most recent diagnosis as a ‘miracle’

Tory Member of Parliament Mark Warawa doesn’t have pancreatic cancer, but operable colon cancer

Man driving wrong way on Highway 17 ‘seriously’ injured after crash: Surrey RCMP

Police say the driver hit a transport truck, then another car after merging from the off-ramp onto highway

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Police pursue pesky porker on Vancouver Island

‘This was allegedly not the pig’s first escape’

Rare ‘Snow Tower’ tree blooming in Vancouver city park

A plant rarely grown in Canada is now flowering at the Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park

Most Read