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Community Recovery Handbook

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Recovery is the coordinated process of supporting affected communities in the reconstruction of the built environment and the restoration of emotional, social, economic, built and natural environment wellbeing.

Recovery is the process of coming to terms with the impacts of a disaster and managing the disruptions and changes caused, which can result, for some people, in a new way of living. Being ‘recovered’ is being able to lead a life that individuals and communities value living, even if it is different to the life they were leading before the disaster event.

The impacts of disasters on affected individuals and communities can be profound, long lasting and life changing. Therefore, recovery is a long-term, multilayered social and developmental process that is more than simply the replacement of what has been destroyed and the rehabilitation of those affected. At its centre, recovery is the complex process of individuals and communities who have been impacted by a disaster event working to resolve the impacts that the event has had on the trajectory of their lives. Recovery provides an opportunity to improve aspects beyond previous conditions by enhancing social infrastructure, natural and built environments, and economies.

Planning for recovery is integral to preparing for emergencies, and is not simply a post-emergency consideration. Recovery planning should occur well in advance of any emergency and concurrently with planning for response. Some elements of recovery will continue until well after the affected community is able to manage on its own.