Sunday, January 17, 2010

Some Thoughts on Recovery

The term recovery as it relates to emergency/disaster management (EM) has been used in a variety of contexts including reconstruction, restoration, rehabilitation and even post disaster redevelopment. Regardless of which term is used, the focus has been on recovery as it relates to the physical environment and for the most part recovery efforts have strived to re-establish what was lost with a view to restoring to an exact replica of pre-disaster make-up or state.

While the repair and restoration of the physical environment is a tangible and expensive undertaking, it represents only one component of recovery and generally ignores the opportunities to increase resiliency in the aftermath of a disaster. It is time to move beyond the focus on the physical environment and look at recovery as a social process that focuses on issues beyond restoration of what was lost and instead focuses on enhancing resiliency and sustainability of communities.

There are many components of recovery – residential, commercial, industrial, economic, social, organizational, information, data and social support to name a few. Equally there are various degrees of recovery. Successful recovery efforts typically rely on strong leadership, vision and integration of a recovery plan into other supporting social, societal or business networks.

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