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Focusing on Hurricane Andrew through the Eyes of the Victims


Zeigler, Donald J.; Brunn, Stanley D.; & Johnson, James H., Jr. (1996). Focusing on Hurricane Andrew through the Eyes of the Victims. Area, 28, 124-129.


Focus group techniques are especially useful in the study of human responses to natural hazards, because of their ability to incorporate context, their open-ended format, and their ability to derive qualitative insights. We convened two focus groups in South Dade County, Florida, to probe reactions to hurricane Andrew's devastation in August of 1992. Based on focus group conversations, we were able to elucidate emergency behaviours as they relate to: first the diversity of attitudes and perceptions characteristic of the pre-impact period; secondly the emergence of therapeutic and parasitic communities in the post-impact period; and thirdly the coping innovations associated with the need to begin recovery. Such behavioural insights need to be incorporated in the emergency planning process to assure preparedness and to facilitate the recovery operation.


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Journal Article

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Zeigler, Donald J.
Brunn, Stanley D.
Johnson, James H., Jr.