Older adults are often considered vulnerable, and therefore at particular risk in the event of a disaster. Very little is known, however, about how older adults are actually affected by disasters, particularly in a low income setting. We will assemble and analyze unique longitudinal data to assess the immediate and longer-term effect of the December 26, 2004 earthquake and tsunami on the well-being of older Indonesians. We have three main goals. First, we will combine the tools of demography and remote sensing to construct estimates of the total number of deaths in and the risk profile by age and sex. In the process, we will develop state-of-the-art methods for mortality estimation that will be applicable for research on other disasters. Second, we will turn to survivors and contrast changes in the lives of older males and females with the lives of younger adults, focusing particularly on destruction of property, loss of kin networks, and the downturn then subsequent boom in the economic environment. All of these dynamics are likely to have affected the way older versus younger adults organize their lives with respect to work, living arrangements, and the receipt and provision of assistance to kin. Third, using both self-reported data and an innovative set of biomarkers, we will address the question of how exposure to high levels of stress affects the evolution of mental and physical health and mortality over the longer term. To fulfill these goals, we will continue to field and analyze a multi-wave longitudinal survey of some 40,000 individuals in tsunami-affected areas of Sumatra and nearby comparison areas. Baseline data were collected in February 2004, prior to the earthquake. The first re-survey took place between May 2005 and May 2006. Survival status was ascertained for 96 percent of the respondents to the 2004 baseline and interviews were conducted with 94 percent of known survivors. The second re-survey began in July 2006 and will conclude in June 2007. We will conduct three additional annual follow-up surveys that focus on the evolution of well-being during the reconstruction phase. The data will be placed in the public domain and will be an important scientific resource for better understanding the impact of a natural disaster on population well-being. Project Narrative This project will provide estimates of consequences of the December 26, 2004 tsunami for mortality and for the well-being of older adults across a range of health and economic outcomes. We will assess the extent to which older individuals were particularly vulnerable to the tsunami's consequences. The results are essential for designing effective long-term assistance and recovery efforts in the aftermath of natural disasters.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Social Sciences and Population Studies Study Section (SSPS)
Program Officer
Haaga, John G
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Duke University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Thomas, Duncan; Seeman, Teresa; Potter, Alan et al. (2018) HPLC-based Measurement of Glycated Hemoglobin using Dried Blood Spots Collected under Adverse Field Conditions. Biodemography Soc Biol 64:43-62
Ho, Jessica Y; Frankenberg, Elizabeth; Sumantri, Cecep et al. (2017) Adult Mortality Five Years after a Natural Disaster. Popul Dev Rev 43:467-490
Nobles, Jenna; Frankenberg, Elizabeth; Thomas, Duncan (2015) The effects of mortality on fertility: population dynamics after a natural disaster. Demography 52:15-38
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McKelvey, Christopher; Thomas, Duncan; Frankenberg, Elizabeth (2012) Fertility Regulation in an Economic Crisis. Econ Dev Cult Change 61:7-38
Frankenberg, Elizabeth; Nobles, Jenna; Sumantri, Cecep (2012) Community destruction and traumatic stress in post-tsunami Indonesia. J Health Soc Behav 53:498-514
Frankenberg, Elizabeth; Gillespie, Thomas; Preston, Samuel et al. (2011) MORTALITY, THE FAMILY AND THE INDIAN OCEAN TSUNAMI. Econ J (London) 121:F162-F182

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