Quakes compound drought stresses in Hurunui
New research shows Hurunui’s earthquakes have exacerbated the stresses being faced by a community already struggling with the impact of three years of drought.
In April 2018 the All Right? wellbeing campaign interviewed 150 Hurunui locals to find out how they’re doing, and the issues being faced following the 2016 earthquake series.
All Right? Hurunui health promoter Leanne Bayler says the research highlights the huge ongoing impact the drought has had on the Hurunui community.
“While 15% of respondents said they were struggling to cope with the impact of the earthquakes, twice this many, or 30%, were struggling to cope with the impact of drought,” says Leanne.
“The drought remains front and centre for the community. While this winter’s rain has been greatly appreciated, people are worried about future drought and the impact this could have.”
According to the research, 85% of respondents thought their lives were either the same (66%) or had become better (19%) since the earthquakes.
Leanne says that while many people are adjusting well to life post-quake, some residents are still finding it hard to cope.
“Although many are doing well, there are pockets of our community that continue to struggle.”
Nearly one in three people said they mourned the loss of community facilities, and 29% feel a sense of loss resulting from people relocating as a result of the quakes.
Leanne says that the impact of quakes is still being felt by parents and their children.
“One in four parents say they are still seeing the effect of earthquakes on their children's wellbeing, 31% feel anxious about their children's safety, and 21% say their children are more anxious or clingy.”
Leanne says that one of the most pleasing things to emerge from the research is the focus people are putting on looking after their own wellbeing.
Ninety-five percent of respondents said they are more aware of the need to take care of their own wellbeing, 90% now appreciate the small things more, and 80% value what they have more now.
Leanne says that as we approach the calving season and drier months it’s important people continue to take the time to look after themselves.
“Wherever you’re at it’s important to remember that no matter what life throws at you, there are things we can do to help us feel and function better. Simple things like catching up with mates, getting some downtime, and helping others can make a big difference to our ability to cope,” says Leanne
Leanne says the research will help to inform what’s required when it comes to the region’s ongoing recovery.
For an overview of the research visit www.allright.org.nz/articles/research-hurunui/