Positive effects of earthquake from the perspective of people with physical disability in Iran

Shahrzad Pakjouei, Aidin Aryankhesal, Mohammad Kamali, Hesam Seyedin, Mohammad Heidari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Earthquake usually causes death, injury, disability and destruction of buildings and infrastructure, and people with disabilities are usually affected more than healthy people. As undesirable experiences may also have positive outcomes, this study aims to investigate the experiences of PWD and identify the positive effects of earthquakes on them in Iran, as an earthquake-prone country. Design/methodology/approach: In this qualitative study, 20 participants were selected purposively among those having physical disability, aged 23-55 years and with experience of an earthquake. Their opinions were collected using semi-structured interviews. Analysis was performed using thematic approach and MAXQDA software was used to organize the data. Findings: The positive effects of earthquake were categorized into five main themes: promotion of preparedness, knowledge enhancement, improvement of structures, socio-economic improvement (economic situation enhancement and social cohesion promotion) and outstanding role of national and international non-governmental organizations. Originality/value: Although disasters are generally unpleasant, in the long term, they can result in positive effects and may be considered as opportunities to improve the situation and eliminate certain limitations. It is also important to learn from experiences of people with disabilities and apply the lessons learned, for enhancing preparedness and providing better services in the response phase of disaster management. Additionally, paying attention to the positive attitudes of such people, with special conditions and limitations, indicates their enhanced resilience to cope with disasters and emergencies, including COVID-19, which should be taken into consideration by policymakers and planners in future programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-169
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment
Issue number2
Early online date20 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2021


  • Disasters
  • Earthquakes
  • People with disabilities
  • Rehabilitation
  • Resilience
  • Risk reduction

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