Piles of ruined goods and rubbish fill back streets of Lismore's CBD.
Piles of ruined goods and rubbish fill back streets of Lismore's CBD. Claudia Jambor

Flood legacy: How the disaster impacted community

THE flood that devastated Lismore last March left a lasting impact on the town, with survey results revealing the effects were psychological as well as physical.

Across the Northern Rivers region more than 2500 people responded to the After the Flood survey, providing insights into the extent of flood damage and how it affected them.

The University Centre for Rural Health project co-ordinator Dr Veronica Matthews said almost everyone who participated in the survey reported being affected by flood damage.

"Our findings show the mental health risk was higher for people who had a number of places flooded, and the risk increased the longer someone was displaced from their home.”

"We would like to thank everyone who took the time to respond to the survey, and we know it was challenging for some people to think back on their flood experience.

"We will have more survey findings in the future on aspects such as the impact on specific groups, and factors that may build resilience.” Dr Veronica Matthews

UCRH Director Ross Bailie said it's important that the information from the survey was used to help us better prepare for and respond to natural disasters.

"We promised to report the survey results back to the community, and the research seminar at UCRH on March 22 is part of this process.

"We have briefed our State MPs and other community leaders about the initial survey findings, and highlighted the importance of mental health impacts of natural disasters to planning and policy making.

"Our community advisory groups, made up of representatives of business, residents groups, volunteers, government and non-government agencies have begun working on responses to this research.”

The initial findings will be presented at a health research seminar at the University Centre for Rural Health on Thursday March 22 at 5pm.