Study Of Tsunami Aftermath & Recovery (STAR)

The Study of the Tsunami Aftermath and Recovery (STAR) is a longitudinal study of individuals who were living along the coast of the northern part of the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, at the time of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Exposure to and experience of the tsunami, as well as psycho-social health implications play a central role in the study. Post-traumatic stress reactivity is assessed in each survey round along with several others markers of psychological well-being. The survey also collects information on demographics, education, work, earnings, income, assets and participation in relief and reconstruction efforts; transfers and preferences; migration; marriage and fertility. Self-assessed health status, health expectations and use of health services are recorded.

Data Collection
The baseline for STAR was conduced 10 months before the tsunami as part of a nationally-representative survey conducted by Statistics Indonesia which collected information on the socio-economic and demographic characteristics of the sampled households. The survey is representative at the kabupaten level and so we included every enumeration area along the coast of the provinces of Aceh and North Sumatra. Aceh was the hardest hit by the tsunami and over 160,000 people died with several million being displaced. Some parts of Aceh were spared the force of the tsunami because of the local topography; most of the coast of North Sumatra was only mildly affected. There were about 30,000 target individuals in the first follow up.

The first task was to identify, track and interview all survivors. Over 94% of those baseline respondents who have not been confirmed dead have been re-interviewed. There have been five follow-up surveys conducted a year apart. Two additional re-surveys are planned. The survey is conducted face-to-face in the home and collects extensive information at the individual, household, family and community level.

No biomarkers were collected in the first two waves. In the third, fourth and fifth waves, we measured height, weight, waist, hip circumference, blood pressure and hemoglobin (using a finger stick and the Hemocue photometer). Blood spots were collected. We have measured CRP with a sample of the spots and are in the process of measuring EBV. These biomarkers will be repeated in the follow-up surveys. We also plan to measure DNA and RNA on a sub-sample of respondents.

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