Disaster Recovery as a Social Process

Nigg, Joanne M.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Disaster Research Center
This paper takes the perspective that recovery from disaster is not merely concerned with the reestablishment of the physical or built environment; that is, community recovery should not be conceptualized as an outcome, but rather as a social process that begins before a disaster occurs and encompasses decision-making concerning emergency response, restoration, and reconstruction activities following the disaster. Put another way, reconstruction is less a technical problem than it is a social one. In order for successful post-disaster decisions to be made, however, there must be an awareness of the pre-disaster conditions that create situations of social and structural vulnerability, putting some segments of the society at greater risk in the event of an earthquake than others. From this perspective, what becomes important is how those decisions are made, who is involved in the decision-making, what consequences those decisions have on the social groups within the disaster-stricken communities, and who benefits from these decisions and who does not.
disaster recovery , community recovery