First and Second Pandemic and Storm Impact Survey Results

Council's second Pandemic and Storm survey results have revealed that respondents are feeling a little more optimistic with improvements in mental health, anxiety and social connection.

The first-round survey, which was released in September 2021, received 789 responses, and helped inform Council’s Municipal Recovery Plan and multiple recovery programs.  

The second survey, conducted in January 2022, focused on how more than 400 residents felt about things such as employment, housing, mental health services and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and June storm.

While there have been minor improvements in mental health, the survey has shown that fallout from these events is still being felt in the community and as a result Council is still working to best respond to the evolving needs of our community.

In terms of social connection, respondents appeared more optimistic with 16 per cent of the community stating they have not felt socially connected at all during the COVID-19 pandemic, a reduction of six per cent compared to last year’s survey.

The mental health toll from the Pandemic and June Storm has decreased by four per cent although 17 per cent of residents still felt the pandemic was impacting their mental health. Hardship arising from the pandemic was down by three percent with 29 per cent still affected.

In addition, 42 per cent of respondents felt insecure about returning to daily activities, an increase of 13 per cent on the last survey, which was undertaken when COVID restrictions were still in place.

Over six months on from the June storm, the survey has revealed that some aspects of the storm impacts have decreased.

This includes a reduction in dangerous trees on private property (down 8 per cent), a reduction in green waste (down 10 per cent), a decrease in people requiring temporary accommodation (down 2 per cent) and a decrease in the community experiencing anxiety or trauma relating to the storm (down 8 per cent).

Areas where reported impacts have increased are power outages, which are up 41 per cent, internet outages, up 31 per cent, and trees down in the street, up 18 per cent.

Since June, multiple storms have battered the Yarra Ranges which based on anecdotal reports, has resulted in the instability of power and internet networks and is likely to be causing regular power and internet outages through the Yarra Ranges.

Yarra Ranges Council Mayor, Jim Child said the report highlighted the ongoing stress and strain caused by COVID, but that it was promising to see that residents had moved into the rebuild and recover phase from the June storms.

“The last survey had a particular focus on the impact of the June storms due to its proximity of the event and the continued impact of COVID restrictions,” Cr Child said.  

“This survey was undertaken six months after the storms and during a period where restrictions were easing. It’s a different type of response that we are seeing, which is that people are recovering and feeling slightly better but there’s also a sense of anxiety as restrictions ease.”

"Findings like this highlight the importance of different organisations working together and I'm particularly encouraged by some of the latest work in this space such as the Insurance Council events, Art Attack programs and collaboration with Inspiro, Windamere and EACH.”

Round one pandemic and storm impact survey results 

Conducted during September and October 2021, the Pandemic and Storm Impact Survey gauged the effects on residents stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and June storms.

The survey was broken into two parts, with the first assessing the impact from the COVID-19 Pandemic and second assessing the impact from the June Storm event.

Pandemic survey results: 

  • 22% have not felt socially connected at all during the pandemic

  • 29% were not confident in returning to daily community activities with the easing of restrictions

  • 21% report that the pandemic has had a major impact on their mental health with the largest impact (24%) occurring in the urban areas of the Yarra Ranges

  • Hardship arising from the pandemic was impacting 32%, with the Yarra Valley region reporting the highest hardship rate (48%)

  • Difficulties with accessing services among those experiencing hardship was prevalent. This consists of delays in accessing the following services:

    • Financial services (32%)

    • Physical health services (41%)

    • Mental health services (38%)

    • Crisis accommodation services (6%)

  • 27% reported that their financial situation was worse at the time they completed the survey, compared with before the pandemic.

  • 15% reported they are working fewer hours since the beginning of the pandemic

  • 9% reported that they have stopped working since the beginning of the pandemic, with the vast majority of these respondents (88%) attributing their loss of employment to the pandemic.

Storm survey results: 

  • 88% report being impacted by the 9 June storm event

  • A significant proportion were directly impacted by the storm for up to 7 days in terms of power outages (52%), internet outages (53%) and mobile connectivity outages (57%).

  • Longer term storm impacts (more than 7 days) included:

    • Trees & branches down in my street (38%)

    • Trees & branches damaged my home (15%)

    • Flooding on my property (3%)

    • Required temporary accommodation (9%)

    • Experienced financial hardship (11%)

    • Experienced mental trauma (35%)

  • As of September / October 2021, the reported ongoing impacts from the June storm event included:

  • power outages (5%),

  • internet outages (13%),

  • trees down in my street (24%),

  • dangerous trees on my property (35%),

  • large volumes of green waste (37%),

  • living in temporary accommodation (6%)

  • continuing to experience trauma / anxiety (32%).

Pandemic_and_Storm_Survey_Oct_2021_-_Results_web_summary.pdf(PDF, 148KB)

Pandemic_and_Storm_Survey_Oct_2021_-_Results_web_summary_-2.docx(DOCX, 51KB)

YRC-Municipal-Recovery-Plan-2021-7-12-21.pdf(PDF, 34MB)

YRC-Municipal-Recovery-Plan-7-12-21-accessible-word-document.docx(DOCX, 9MB)