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UNC-CH researchers to study social effects of N.C. hurricane

CHAPEL HILL -- Hurricane Floyd's human, economic and environmental effects will be the focus of new studies recently funded by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Odum Institute for Research in Social Science. The institute, which supports and encourages such research, has awarded nearly $30,000 to eight projects related to the storm's impact.

"Service to the state and supporting research on North Carolina's social and economic problems are traditions with us that date back to 1924 when the institute was founded," said Dr. John Shelton Reed, institute director.

Social scientists offer expertise and perspectives that could contribute to Floyd recovery and to more successful disaster relief efforts in the future, said Dr. Kenneth Bollen, who will succeed Reed as director in July.

"The response of our faculty and graduate students to this event has been impressive," Bollen said. "The institute is funding work ranging from Geographic Information System (GIS) assessments of flood damage to oral history investigations of the flooding."

In a project titled "Voices After the Deluge: Oral History Research Investigations of the Great Flood," faculty and students aim to preserve the region's history before the flood and say that "only a sense of what was can inform a full understanding of what has been washed away."

Oral histories are first-person narratives that add new voices to the historical record. Such personal stories record vivid memories and present history to the public in new ways. Without historians' efforts, the stories preserved on tape and in transcripts would eventually be lost.

"Voices after the Deluge" will build on the UNC-CH Southern Oral History Program's recent survey of the flood's impact across eastern North Carolina. Conducted by Dr. Charles Thompson and photographer Rob Amberg beginning late last year and funded by the Carolina Center for Public Service, the earlier project included 22 interviews
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Contact: David Williamson
david_williamson@unc.edu
919-962-8596
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
7-Jun-2000


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