Natural disasters with death tolls in the tens of thousands and staggering social and health costs have struck across the globe in recent years. Yet, little evidence exists on the longer-term consequences of these disasters on survivors. In large part, this reflects a paucity of scientific data on affected populations. This project will collect and analyze two additional waves of the Study of the Tsunami Aftermath and Recovery (STAR) a large- scale longitudinal household and community survey that follows respondents who were living in coastal Sumatra, Indonesia, at the time of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, a massive natural disaster that killed over 160,000 Indonesians. Drawing on a pre-tsunami population-representative baseline of 27,000 individuals, we have tracked and re-interviewed tsunami survivors annually for 5 years;95% of them have been interviewed at least once since the tsunami. Two additional household and community survey waves, collected 8 and 10 years after the tsunami, will provide a uniquely rich resource to measure not only the longer-term consequences of the tsunami on the well-being of children and prime age adults but to also investigate the mediating role of a broad array of behavioral responses to this large-scale, unanticipated and heterogeneous shock. Integrating the survey data with satellite imagery of land cover and night lights in conjunction with innovative methods to measure growth and reconstruction from imagery will further enhance the value of the survey data and provide opportunities to evaluate the contributions of such methods to the population sciences. With these data, research will investigate the longer-term consequences of the tsunami on psycho-social and physical health, family building, human capital accumulation and economic prosperity. Hypotheses about the impact of unanticipated parent and spousal death, in utero shocks and shocks in early life will be tested. To characterize population dynamics after a high mortality disaster, we will conduct brief interviews with a new cross-section of households in selected communities to capture effects of in-migration, drawing on community- level and administrative data. The first six waves of STAR will be in the public domain in 2013 and data collected in this project will be added to this extremely rich public use database.

Public Health Relevance

This project will collect and analyze data on how children and prime-age adults are affected by and respond to a large-scale natural disaster, the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004. Key health outcomes include physical and mental health and fertility. Using the research design of a natural experiment, the project will inform policies of post disaster assistance by conducting rigorous analysis of individual trajectories of well-being in the aftermath of a large-scale unanticipated shock, followed by strong inflow of aid for reconstruction.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Social Sciences and Population Studies Study Section (SSPS)
Program Officer
Bures, Regina M
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Duke University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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