Volume 18 Issue 2, 2003

Integrated recovery management: A new way of looking at a delicate process

Mark Sullivan

Peer-reviewed Article

Archived Article


This paper considers the factors that relate to the recovery of a community affected by emergency. In particular, principles of recovery, the process of recovery, the reactions of people affected by emergencies, and the means by which recovery needs might be addressed are considered. An approach to recovery that is not strictly sequential, but is flexible, community-centric and which is integrated with other elements of the emergency management process is advanced. On 20 May 2002 the Republic of East Timor was acknowledged by the United Nations as a country in its own right. When interviewed, citizens of the new country expressed relief at no longer having to live in fear of violent militia attacks. They did however express new concerns; concerns more characteristic of the aftermath of a less insidious, yet equally destructive calamity. These concerns included the need for employment, long-term accommodation, and economic viability. The above, in addition to the psychological sequelae, represent some of the more typical needs of a recovering community. Indeed, the recovery of a community, whether from war or cyclone, rates as one of the more complex and lengthy challenges to confront both those affected by the event and those called to assist the affected. This paper considers the process of recovery. In particular, several key principals of recovery are considered along with the process by which the recovery of a community occurs. In addition to the aforementioned fundamentals of recovery management, several other recovery issues will be considered, including the diverse reactions to emergencies. The question of meeting the needs of a recovering community in terms of what is required and who accepts responsibility for its provision will also be addressed. Importantly, a number of conclusions will be drawn with respect to factors that affect recovery.