Recovery from a disaster is defined by the Australian Emergency Management Glossary (1998) as “the coordinated process of supporting emergency-affected communities in reconstruction of the physical infrastructure and restoration of emotional, social, economic and physical well-being.”
In a disaster event, there are four functions of recovery that are addressed, these are:
- Recovery of human-social aspects
- Recovery of infrastructure and essential services
- Recovery of economic and financial aspects
- Recovery of the natural environment.
Depending on the nature of the disaster, one or more of these functions may be the focus of recovery operations. Often a disaster will be of such a scale that all functions need to be addressed to affect recovery. During the response phase to a disaster, the Redland City LDMG will consider the impact of the disaster event and may decide to activate the Redland City Local Recovery Group to coordinate recovery activities based on priorities set by the Redland City LDMG.
Human-social recovery is the coordinated process of supporting disaster-affected individuals, families and communities towards the restoration of emotional, social, economic and physical wellbeing. Services typically include the provision of information, payment of financial assistance, and provision of personal and psychosocial support. Community Hubs may be established by the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors, in partnership with the Redland City Local Recovery Group to enable delivery of recovery services by multiple agencies from a single location, a ‘One-Stop-Shop’. Primary human-social considerations resulting from a disaster include:
- Community characteristics
- Psychosocial impacts on the community, families and individuals
- Number of people affected
- Resources required to aid in recovery
- Government and non-government organisations that could assist in recovery
- Financial assistance available to the community and how can people access it
- Communication with the community and recovery support organisations.
Large-scale disruption to, or loss of infrastructure may cause severe hardships for the Redlands community and significantly affect the management and delivery of recovery services. Infrastructure for which Redland City Council is responsible will be restored in accordance with the Redland City Council Business Continuity Plan. The following priorities have been identified for infrastructure recovery:
- Identification of the extent of the damage
- Restoration of essential services as quickly as possible
- Restoration of people’s living conditions and security
- Prioritising the rebuilding community infrastructure
- Integration of recovery arrangements with other agencies.
The immediate priorities for Redland City Council will be focused on restoring common and essential services necessary for a viable community. While social recovery and welfare services provide immediate relief and support, a comprehensive assessment of the economic impacts of the disaster is the first step in developing long-term economic recovery plans. The Redland City LDMG, in conjunction with local business groups and other government entities will assess the following:
- Impacts the disaster will have on business continuity and job security
- Identification of who should be involved in rebuilding economic viability
- Resources required to aid the economic recovery of the community
- Management of damaged reputation regionally, nationally and internationally.
As soon as practically possible after a disaster event, the Redland City LDMG will organise an environmental assessment that will form the basis for determining environmental recovery priorities. Where there has been widespread or long-term environmental damage, the Redland City LDMG, through the Disaster District structure, may seek the support of appropriate state and commonwealth government agencies. Major environmental considerations resulting from a disaster event include:
- Environmental uniqueness of Moreton Bay and the islands
- Identification of contamination/hazards resulting from the event
- Scientific assessment of the short and long-term environmental impacts of the event
- Strategies to rectify the damage and rehabilitate the natural environment
- Identification of who should be involved in this process.