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

Sarah Wark faces do-or-die match at Scotties Tournament of Hearts

Wark’s rink will face Manitoba Thursday morning with a championship pool berth on the line.

Chilliwack Chief Kevin Wall nominated for BCHL awards

Wall is in the running for MVP and top rookie, and will find out if he’s won before the playoffs.

Permaculture group planning a seed swap

The AGM is Feb. 23 for Valley Permaculture Guild members

Chilliwack-Kent MLA unimpressed with ‘classic NDP high-tax-and-spend budget’

Laurie Throness said there was nothing in Tuesday’s presentation for Chilliwack

Effort to move Chilliwack heritage house on Maitland falls through

Next up is an open house where interested parties can purchase heritage elements from the developer

Students give two thumbs up to no more B.C. student loan interest

Eliminating the loan interest charges could save the average graduate $2,300 over 10 years

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Missing Surrey snowshoer caught in avalanche found dead on Vancouver mountain

North Shore Rescue resumed its search today after efforts were temporarily halted Tuesday due to snowstorm

Most Read