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Two years after the train derailment : Lac-Megantic (Quebec, Canada) residents are still suffering

Généreux Melissa, Maltais Danielle, Roy Mathieu et Petit Geneviève. (2016). Two years after the train derailment : Lac-Megantic (Quebec, Canada) residents are still suffering. The European journal of public health, 26, (Suppl. 1), p. 207-208.

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In 2013, a train carrying 72 cars of oil derailed in Lac-Mégantic, the seat of the Granit territory, in the Estrie region. The explosions and the raging fire killed 47 people, destroyed much of the downtown area, and heavily contaminated the environment. The health consequences were examined in the years following the disaster.


Two phone surveys were conducted, one in 2014 and another in 2015, among random samples of adults residing in the Estrie region (2014: n = 8737; 2015: n = 1600). Using Chi-square and t-tests, the frequency of physical and mental health issues was compared according to residential location (Lac-Mégantic, Granit, Estrie) and over time (2014 and 2015).


Overall, 7 in 10 adults in Granit reported human (e.g. loss of a loved one) or material losses (e.g. home damage). In 2015, 19.3% of adults in Lac-Mégantic did not consider themselves healthy, a proportion twice as high as elsewhere in the Estrie region (9.6%, p < 0.001). This proportion was higher than the one measured in 2014 in Lac-Mégantic (13.0%; p = 0.03). In 2015, anxiety disorders were twice as common in Lac-Mégantic as elsewhere in the region (14.1% vs. 7.2%, p = 0.03). Similar findings were observed for psychological distress (34.1% vs. 22.1%, p < 0.001). No improvement was noted over time for these issues. Despite the significant proportion of people affected by the tragedy, visits to psychologists and social workers decreased by half since 2014 (15.5% vs. 26.9%, p = 0.001).


In the Granit, particularly in Lac-Mégantic, health and social problems are persistent and even increasing 2 years after the tragic event, while the consultation for psychosocial aid has declined. Secondary stress factors may increase the sense of distress in individuals and affect its duration. To increase resilience in the coming years, the local health network needs to maintain resources, adapt psychosocial services, stay connected with the community, and foster resident involvement.

Key messages:

The population burden of psychopathology in the aftermath of disasters is substantial and may span several years

This calls for sustained effort from everyone and requires a flexible approach.

Type de document:Article publié dans une revue avec comité d'évaluation
Numéro:Suppl. 1
Pages:p. 207-208
Version évaluée par les pairs:Oui
Sujets:Sciences sociales et humaines
Sciences sociales et humaines > Sciences sociales
Sciences sociales et humaines > Sciences sociales > Service social et travail social
Département, module, service et unité de recherche:Départements et modules > Département des sciences humaines
Mots-clés:désastre, état de stress post-traumatique, souffrance, travail social
Déposé le:23 févr. 2022 15:14
Dernière modification:23 févr. 2022 15:14
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