Disaster Diaries

A book club for anyone interested in the community’s response to emergencies.

Read any good books lately?

Every two months during Monday lunchtime (12.30 PM AEST), a small group of colleagues in emergency communication and community engagement gather in a small corner of the internet to discuss an item of the written word. 


Join us for the next Disaster Diaries meeting on Monday 31 October 2022, 12.30 PM (AEST)* where we will be discussing an academic article.   

*This session will be recorded and shared on our YouTube channel.


Monday 19 September 2022

“A startling investigation of what people do in disasters and why it matters

Why is it that in the aftermath of a disaster–whether manmade or natural–people suddenly become altruistic, resourceful, and brave? What makes the newfound communities and purpose many find in the ruins and crises after disaster so joyous? And what does this joy reveal about ordinarily unmet social desires and possibilities?

In A Paradise Built in Hell, award-winning author Rebecca Solnit explores these phenomena, looking at major calamities from the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco through the 1917 explosion that tore up Halifax, Nova Scotia, the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, 9/11, and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. She examines how disaster throws people into a temporary utopia of changed states of mind and social possibilities, as well as looking at the cost of the widespread myths and rarer real cases of social deterioration during crisis. This is a timely and important book from an acclaimed author whose work consistently locates unseen patterns and meanings in broad cultural histories.” – Source: goodreads.com

TITLE: A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster

AUTHOR: Rebecca Solnit

PUBLICATION: 20 August 2009 by Viking Adult, New York City, New York, USA

SOURCE: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6444492-a-paradise-built-in-hell

Monday 15 August 2022

Academic research into how agencies in Europe are interpreting and dealing with false information – which is something emergency communicators need to be ready for and deal with, sometimes even before it happens. 

This article reviews the approaches of different European countries to dealing with false information in emergency management, and offers some surprising examples of where misinformation and disinformation can come from. It provides an important foundation for any strategies we might develop to head off false information about natural hazards in future.

TITLE: Handling false information in emergency management: A cross-national comparative study of European practices

AUTHORS: S.Torpan, S.Hansson, M.Rhinard, A.Kazemekaityte, P.Jukarainen, S.Frislid Meyer, A.Schieffelers, G.Lovasz, K.Orru

PUBLICATION: International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, Volume 57, 15 April 2021, Elsevier Ltd.

SOURCE: www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212420921001175

Monday 4 July 2022

“A moving insider’s account of surviving one of Australia’s worst bushfires – and how we live with fire in a climate-changed world.”

A well-researched account of the 2019-20 Currowan bushfire that gives glimpses into the best and worst of community bushfire preparation and recovery.

TITLE: Currowan: The Story of a Fire and a Community During Australia’s Worst Summer

AUTHOR: Bronwyn Adcock

PUBLICATION: 20 Sep 2021, Black Inc. Books, Collingwood, Australia

SOURCE: https://www.blackincbooks.com.au/books/currowan