Psychosocial impact of the 1998 Québec Ice Storm
Les impacts psychosociaux de la tempête de verglas au Québec

J Charbonneau, F R Ouellette, S Gaudet
2000 Santé mentale au Québec  
Between January 5th and January 9th 1998, Quebec was struck by a natural disaster, an ice storm that disrupted the daily lives of millions of people. The ice accumulated on electric wires and installations caused the collapse of part of the system leaving millions of people without power for periods of up to a month. These events thus compelled many people to reorganize their daily lives in some of the most densely populated areas in Québec. Many elements make this disaster distinct from
more » ... It is in this particular context that we must understand results of studies conducted for the Commission mandated by the Québec government to examine the consequences of the ice storm. These studies examined among other things, the psychosocial consequences of the disaster. By comparing the ice storm to other disasters, we see that the temporality of the phases of impact are somewhat different. The confusion between the phases of anticipation and the lengthy duration of the phase of impact are important characteristics which are also linked to some psychosocial impacts such as uncertainty and the more or less prolonged disorganization of daily life. The types of impact underlined in the studies lie in continuity with reactions generally expected in this area (stress, distress, vulnerability for example), and described in the literature but also reveal the specificity of a disaster occurring in a cold country. Here, there are no massive material destruction but help is diverse. However, as elsewhere, there is a context where some people are in a greater situation of vulnerability.
pmid:18253575 fatcat:fe3aia5q6zawzpjhamazqqky7e