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Long-term impact of the Galtuer avalanche on the public health system

Nina Lorenzoni, MA, Margit Raich, PhD


On February 23, 1999, an avalanche buried large parts of the village of Galtuer Austria, killing 31 people. The purpose of this paper is to examine the longer-term impact of this avalanche on the public health system. For the case study, we used a mixed-method approach consisting of a document study and expert interviews with people who were involved in the disaster-management operations. Many long-term changes were undertaken in the context of infrastructural measures, disaster-management structures, and coordination and cooperation within the existing system to protect people and property as well as to provide important information for decision makers. The investigation reveals the importance of situational approaches to the post-disaster phase depending on the recovery needs of those affected. Moreover, the value of social capital in a disaster situation is emphasized.



disaster management, long-term impact, natural hazard, case study, public health, avalanche

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