Since the Hyogo Framework for Action was developed in 2005, nations have been prioritising investments in more targeted preparedness, relief and mitigation policies in an attempt to reduce the financial and human costs of disasters. Often it is after the media spotlight fades on a major disaster that the real recovery process begins, and regardless of the level of interest and the effectiveness of the response during the event, the recovery process extends over time and passes through stages of short-term, medium and long term recovery. However, rarely is there a concerted long-term dimension for plans, particularly from the perspective of enabling disaster impacted communities to effect full recovery of their livelihoods.
Successful recovery is about building back better and smarter and can provide opportunities to enhance social and economic systems, as well as natural and built environments. To do this though, it must be recognised that both communities and individuals have complex and interrelated needs which have to be understood and addressed. It is important that people, communities, organisations and government agencies play complementary roles in this process and understand the interrelations between the social, community, cultural, political, economic and built environments. The manner in which recovery activities are planned and undertaken is critical and can require appropriate enablers to be present to optimise the effectiveness of any recovery intervention. Conversely some activities fail to reach their potential due to presence of various barriers. There is a need to be able to assess and understand the enablers and barriers present within a recovering community so as to ensure that the right actions are taken at the right time.
This project, which began in July 2017, will address two complementary areas of research relating to the long term recovery of communities after a disaster.
Firstly, the project will investigate how a person’s history of moving house or town influences the likelihood of their willingness to dissolve social ties.
The second area will be an examination of the enablers and barriers to successful recovery using a framework of community capital and the tracking of capital flows. This will look at natural, cultural, human, social, political, built and financial capital resources, their interconnectedness and interactions in disaster recovery. Examination of these assets through case studies and working with end-users will identify both potential areas for improvements, as well as recognise what has worked well in recovering communities. This process will provide feedback and a guide for the planning of recovery activities in a range of communities.