The recovery process is about supporting people to rebuild their lives and restore their emotional, social, economic and physical well-being. It is more than simply building back the infrastructure.
The impact of a natural or man-made emergency event always leaves a fix of some sort to be addressed after the initial response and stabilisation has been undertaken.
This involves the coordinated efforts and processes used to bring about the immediate, medium and long-term holistic regeneration and enhancement of a community following that emergency.

Emergencies affect individuals, communities, regions and nations depending on the scale and seriousness. How well we recover from events will depend on how well we have prepared to recover.

Recovery means the coordinated efforts and processes to bring about the immediate, medium and long term holistic regeneration and enhancement of a community following an emergency (from the CDEM Act 2002). Recovery should:

  • support cultural and physical well-being of individuals and communities
  • Minimise the escalation of the consequences of the disaster
  • Reduce future exposure to hazards and their associate risks – i.e. build resilience
  • Take opportunities to regenerate and enhance communities in ways that will meet future needs (across the social, economic, natural and built environments).

Effective recovery requires preparation

Recovery is not just about what happens after an emergency.  

Before emergencies occur, communities and organisations can improve their ability to recover quickly and effectively by reducing their risk from hazards (reduction), and preparing plans, arrangements, and resources specifically for recovery. 

Coordination between agencies, organisations, and communities is as important during recovery as it is during response. Planning for recovery before emergencies occur will help improve this coordination, and ensure that, from day one of an emergency, communities have the support and resources they need to begin the recovery process.

Depending on the nature, scale and complexity of the emergency, recovery may take a short time or many years, possibly decades.  Recovery not only needs to be holistic (taking into account the social, economic, natural, and built environments) – it must also address the long-term.

Current focus

The National Emergency Management Agency are currently developing a broad recovery programme to assist CDEM Groups to plan for and manage recovery, increase recovery capability and build professional networks.