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Solastalgia: Living With the Environmental Damage Caused By Natural Disasters

  • Sri Warsini (a1), Jane Mills (a1) and Kim Usher (a1)

Forced separation from one's home may trigger emotional distress. People who remain in their homes may experience emotional distress due to living in a severely damaged environment. These people experience a type of ‘homesickness’ similar to nostalgia because the land around them no longer resembles the home they knew and loved. What they lack is solace or comfort from their home; they long for the home environment to be the way it was before. “Solastalgia” is a term created to describe feelings which arise in people when an environment changes so much that it negatively affects an individual's quality of life. Such changed environments may include drought-stricken areas and open-cut mines. The aim of this article is to describe how solastalgia, originally conceptualized as the result of man-made environmental change, can be similarly applied to the survivors of natural disasters. Using volcanic eruptions as a case example, the authors argue that people who experience a natural disaster are likely to suffer from solastalgia for a number of reasons, which may include the loss of housing, livestock and farmland, and the ongoing danger of living in a disaster-prone area. These losses and fears challenge people's established sense of place and identity and can lead to feelings of helplessness and depression.

WarsiniS, MillsJ, UsherK. Solastalgia: Living With the Environmental Damage Caused By Natural Disasters. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2014:29(1);1-4.

Corresponding author
Correspondence: Sri Warsini, M.Med School of Nursing, Midwifery & Nutrition James Cook University PO Box 6811 Cairns, 4870, Qld Australia E-mail
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S Warsini , J Mills , K Usher . Solastalgia: living with the environmental damage caused by natural disasters. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2014:29(1);1-4

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Prehospital and Disaster Medicine
  • ISSN: 1049-023X
  • EISSN: 1945-1938
  • URL: /core/journals/prehospital-and-disaster-medicine
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