After Great Disasters
The aftermath of great natural disasters and the management of the recovery process have an enormous effect on the lives of citizens and can change the future of a city or region forever. This report identifies lessons from six countries that have faced significant disaster recovery challenges and employed different management approaches: China, New Zealand, Japan, India, Indonesia, and the United States. Each of these governments faced considerable uncertainty and had to balance the tensions between speed and deliberation, between restoration and betterment.
Through examining these case studies, the authors offer the following recovery recommendations that reflect a set of core principles: primacy of information, stakeholder involvement, and transparency.
- Enhance existing government structures and systems to promote information flow and collaboration.
- Emphasize data management, communication, transparency, and accountability. Plan and act simultaneously involving continuous monitoring, evaluating, and correcting.
- Budget for the costs of communication and planning. Increase capacity and empower the governmental levels closest to the disaster to implement actions.
- Avoid permanent relocation of residents and communities except in rare instances when public safety and welfare are at risk, and only with full participation of residents.
- Although speed is important, reconstruction should not be a race.