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6 Recovery

6 Recovery

Community recovery from disasters can be a complex and often lengthy process, with different communities recovering at different rates.

The recovery element of the comprehensive approach to disaster management – prevention, preparedness, response and recovery (PPRR) – can be the most complicated and protracted.

The best outcomes are achieved by ensuring recovery strategies align with community need and are led by the affected community.

This requires a collaborative, coordinated, adaptable and scalable approach where the responsibility for disaster recovery is shared among all sectors of the community including individuals, families, community groups, businesses and all levels of government.

A community-led approach supports the rapid restoration of services essential to human wellbeing and presents an opportunity to build resilience and improve community circumstances and preparedness beyond their pre-disaster status.

Queensland takes an all hazards approach to recovery, as identified in the Act.

6.1 Principles

The following principles underpin all recovery planning and operations in Queensland:

  • Understanding the context:

    • appreciate the risks faced by individuals and communities

    • acknowledge existing strengths and capacity, including past experiences

    • be culturally sensitive and free from discrimination

    • recognise and respect differences

    • support those who may be more vulnerable such as people with disabilities, the elderly, children and those directly affected.

  • Recognising complexity:

    • information on impacts is limited at first and changes over time

    • affected individuals and communities have diverse needs, wants and expectations, which are immediate and evolve rapidly

    • quick action to address immediate needs is both crucial and expected

    • events lead to a range of effects and impacts that require a variety of approaches; they can also leave long term legacies

    • conflicting knowledge, values and priorities among individuals, communities and organisations may create tension

    • events create stressful environments where grief or blame may also affect those involved

    • the achievement of recovery is often long and challenging

    • existing community knowledge and values may challenge the assumptions of those outside the community

    • the five functions of recovery (human and social, economic, environment, building, and roads and transport) often overlap and recovery arrangements must consider the inter-relationship between these functions.

  • Using local, community-led approaches:

    • centre on the community to enable those affected by an event to actively participate in their own recover

    • seek to address the needs of all affected communities

    • allow individuals, families, businesses and communities to manage their own recover

    • consider the values, culture and priorities of all affected communities

    • use and develop community knowledge, leadership and resilienc

    • recognise that communities may choose different paths to recover

    • ensure the specific and changing needs of affected communities are met with flexible and adaptable policies, plans and services

    • build strong partnerships between communities and those involved in the recovery process.

  • Ensuring coordination of all activities:

    • be guided by those with experience, using skilled and trusted leadership

    • reflect well developed planning and information gathering

    • demonstrate an understanding of the roles, responsibilities and authority of other organisations and coordinate across agencies to ensure minimal service disruption

    • be part of an emergency management approach that integrates with response and contributes to future prevention and preparedness

    • be inclusive, using relationships created before and after the emergency

    • have clearly articulated, shared goals, based on desired outcomes

    • have clear decision-making and reporting structures

    • be flexible, take into account changes in community needs or stakeholder expectations

    • incorporate the planned introduction to and transition from recovery-specific actions and services

    • focus on all dimensions, seeking to collaborate and reconcile different interests and time frames.

  • Employing effective communication:

    • ensure all communication is relevant, timely, clear, accurate, targeted, credible and consistent

    • recognise that communication with a community should be two-way, and that input and feedback should be sought and considered over an extended time

    • ensure that information is accessible to audiences in diverse situations, addresses a variety of communication needs and is provided through a range of media and channels

    • establish mechanisms for coordinated and consistent communication with all organisations and individuals

    • continually repeat key recovery messages because information is more likely to reach community members when they are receptive.

  • Acknowledging and building capacity:

    • assess gaps between existing and required capability and capacity

    • support the development of self-reliance

    • quickly identify and mobilise community skills and resources

    • acknowledge that existing resources will be stretched and that additional resources may be required

    • recognise that resources can be provided by a range of stakeholders

    • understand that additional resources may only be available for a limited period, and that sustainability may need to be addressed

    • provide opportunities to share, transfer and develop knowledge, skills and training

    • understand when and how to disengage

    • develop networks and partnerships to strengthen capacity.

  • Identifying lessons and building resilience:

    • develop strategies, such as community education and awareness activities with individuals, businesses and communities to prepare them for possible events and outline how they will recover from such events – these strategies and arrangements should be detailed in relevant plans

    • implement the strategies/arrangements described in the relevant plan as soon as possible to ensure a rapid recovery, and to build resilience through recovery activities

    • engage communities to build individual skills and trust through the transfer of problem solving and planning skills as well as through the development of sustainable networks

    • work with leaders and their networks to understand what could be improved after an event, to increase individual and community resilience for the next event.

These principles are based on the National Principles for Disaster Recovery.