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Communicating in Disaster Following the February 22, 2011 Christchurch, NZ Earthquake

The February 22, 2011 earthquake in Christchurch New Zealand, an aftershock of a larger earthquake in September 2010, caused significant infrastructure and economic damage, and life loss, to a modern city with similar population characteristics as US metropolitan communities. In the days and weeks following the earthquake, various risk communication strategies were utilized to reach individuals affected by the ongoing aftershocks, including online networked communications. By collecting data on access to and use of online information in this critical period following the earthquake, this project will advance knowledge about information and communication capacities as they affect coping and resiliency in the aftermath of disaster. Specifically, the project examines the effects of reliance on online communications on individual coping ability and community recovery, and on the role of networked online communication among those directly affected by disaster. These questions will be examined through a series of focus groups and a household survey in the disaster-affected area.


New Zealand Earthquake New Zealand


Jeannette Sutton

Other Resources:

Dr. Jeannette Sutton
Social Scientist
Personal Website
Phone: (719) 255-4128
  • EERI bulletin that describes the initial research. EERI bulletin was completed prior to receiving the grant. Read more >>
  • Learning from Earthquakes "Virtual Clearinghouse" on February 21, 2011 (New Zealand). Read more >>

In collaboration with David Johnston, New Zealand.

Further reading on RAPID project (pdf)