resilience reporter

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Why the White House, and Business, Should Heed the Waffle House Index

Study to capture experiences of pregnant women during disasters


Researchers from the Australian National University are studying how natural disasters affect pregnant women. Photo: File.

Pregnancy is stressful at the best of times and the last six months have been anything but ideal.

Now researchers from the Australian National University (ANU) are studying just how stressful natural disasters are on pregnant women to help better understand this vulnerable group and the potential impact of future disasters. “We’re looking for resilience factors in pregnant women, such as whether they had strong family networks or continued access to their doctors and midwives,” said PhD scholar Cynthia Parayiwa, who is conducting the study with Associate Professor Dr Alison Behie.

“But we also want to hear about personal stressors they may have faced. Did they lose a house, or a pet or a loved one during a natural disaster? Did they lose sleep or did they seek help?” While the study will focus on pregnant women living in Queensland who were exposed to a severe cyclone event over the past 10 years, the team from ANU’s College of Arts and Social Sciences will also examine the impact of fire and flood on pregnancies…


Why the White House, and Business, Should Heed the Waffle House Index

Strange as it may seem, a chain of restaurants called Waffle House has staked out a position for itself as the gold standard for disaster preparedness. The company has been so effective, in fact, that federal emergency managers once coined the term “Waffle House Index” to judge the severity of local and regional disasters. Now that the entire nation is in the grip of the COVID-19 crisis, the Waffle House Index is more significant than ever — and it has begun flashing red. Unfortunately, no-one in the White House appears to have gotten the message…



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