The Christchurch IHC Earthquake Reflections Group

For disaster preparedness to be effective, it needs to be accessible to everyone.  But vulnerable groups such as people with intellectual disabilities are often overlooked in disaster preparedness and recovery planning.  A new collection in CEISMIC highlights the work being done by the IHC to help people with intellectual disabilities prepare for disaster.

Michael Krammer introduces the Earthquake Reflections Group.

In the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquakes, the Christchurch IHC Earthquake Reflections Group was formed in order to consult with people with intellectual disabilities about how they could be better prepared for disasters, and to ensure that the voices of people with intellectual disabilities are heard in the rebuild of their city.  The group also provided a safe and supportive environment where everyone could talk openly and honestly, telling their stories and sharing their earthquake experiences. 

Andrew Oswin recalls the 22 February 2011 earthquake.

Out of this group grew two new initiatives.  The first was a series of “Shaken but not Stirred” workshops led by group members, and delivered in centres around the country in conjunction with Civil Defence.  The workshops have not only helped people with intellectual disabilities learn about and prepare for disasters by hearing the stories of the Earthquake Reflections Group’s members, but have also provided insights for Civil Defence personnel into the particular needs of people with intellectual disabilities.

Gary Buchanan describes the essentials for an emergency kit.

The second initiative was a series of videos created to support the workshops. These videos feature members of the Earthquake Reflections Group talking about their experiences during and after the earthquakes, and about their hopes for the future of Christchurch.

Andrew Dever talks about how his life has changed since the

Future plans for the group include the development of a plain language emergency preparedness resource with Civil Defence and emergency preparedness film links for the Civil Defence website.  Other issues which the group have highlighted and would like to see happen are the need for wellbeing workshops and more counselling for people with intellectual disabilities in Canterbury. With this work the IHC Christchurch Earthquake Reflection Group are helping ensure that everyone can be prepared for disaster.

Video stills taken from Earthquake Reflections, Earthquake Reflections: Three years on… and Christchurch Earthquake Reflection Group: Shaken but not stirred.  Used with permission.