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