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Patterns of Victimization and the Chronic Technological Disaster (From The Victimology Handbook: Research Findings, Treatment, and Public Policy, P 159-176, 1990, Emilio Viano, ed. -- See NCJ-126951)

NCJ Number
S R Couch; S J Kroll-Smith
Date Published
18 pages
This study examines differences between immediate impact natural disasters (IIND's) and chronic technological disasters (CTD's) in six areas: the nature of loss, individual reactions, extra-local agency response, knowledge and information use, blame, and predisaster community structures.
This analysis of CTD's is based on a study of the effects of a long-burning underground coal mine fire on the small town of Centralia, Pa. CTD's involve long-term toxic threats to communities. There is typically ongoing debate among community members and between community members and the government about the nature of the threat and how it should be countered. Long-term anxiety and community conflict tend to accompany CTD's, posing a socioeconomic threat to the community that may be more damaging to community life than the CTD's physical threat. Helping strategies should focus directly on healing the social divisions in a CTD community. To date such strategies have not been implemented in CTD communities. This could include the creation of a community committee composed of representatives of opposing groups, the structuring of constructive activities that involve the total community, and the use of community organizers to re-establish the community or create a new one. 32 references


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