Essential Ten: Recovery and Rebuilding Communities

"After any disaster, ensure that the needs of the survivors are placed at the center of reconstruction, with their support in the design and implementation of the recovery, responses, including rebuilding homes and livelihoods."

Why?

Cities are built by many entities over decades or centuries, and hence difficult to rebuild in a short period of time. There is continual tension between the need to rebuild quickly and to rebuild as safely and sustainably as possible. A well-planned and participatory recovery and reconstruction process helps the city reactivate itself, restore and rebuild its damaged infrastructure and recover its economy, empowering citizens to rebuild their lives, housing and livelihoods. Reconstruction must begin as soon as possible – in fact, cities can foresee needs, establish operational mechanisms and pre-assign resources before a disaster. Leadership, coordination and obtaining money are key.

What?

Recovery must be part of disaster reduction plans and public policies

  • Consider recovery and reconstruction as integral parts of the city’s routine risk reduction and development processes.
  • Determine what resources will be needed and plan, in advance, for securing these.


Include the affected population in the definition of needs

  • From the beginning and throughout the reconstruction process, focus attention on the needs of survivors and the affected population, promoting their participation in decisions about the design and execution of actions that help guarantee resilience and sustainability.
  • Carry out activities that enable the city to return to levels of normalcy as quickly as possible, including the reopening of schools.
  • Ensure that action and programs include counselling to support the disaster-affected population to find job opportunities and to manage their economic situation in the aftermath of disasters.


Recovery is an opportunity to build back better and improve development

  • Evaluate the city’s strategic plan, designating as priority those areas that are most affected by and sensitive to development; apply disaster risk reduction criteria as a crosscutting measure.
  • Reformulate programs and projects as needed, strengthening those that lead to resilience; define mechanisms, laws and a solid institutional and political framework for the city.
  • Create and strengthen capacities, with an emphasis on local capacities, and strengthen development from within using local knowledge and resources.
  • During the recovery process don’t overlook the protection of natural and cultural resources and values.
  • Pay special attention to transitional shelters, ensuring that they are resilient and compliant with local regulations and that they do not become permanent slums.


Recovery is an opportunity to build back better and improve development

  • Evaluate the city’s strategic plan, designating as priority those areas that are most affected by and sensitive to development; apply disaster risk reduction criteria as a crosscutting measure.
  • Reformulate programs and projects as needed, strengthening those that lead to resilience; define mechanisms, laws and a solid institutional and political framework for the city.
  • Create and strengthen capacities, with an emphasis on local capacities, and strengthen development from within using local knowledge and resources.
  • During the recovery process don’t overlook the protection of natural and cultural resources and values.
  • Pay special attention to transitional shelters, ensuring that they are resilient and compliant with local regulations and that they do not become permanent slums.


Seek resources, strengthen alliances and ensure sustainability

  • Prepare a resource management strategy to initiate the reconstruction process. Convene national and international cooperation agencies, businesses and other potential partners.
  • Strengthen existing or seek new partnerships and networks to contribute to reconstruction, looking at ways to create new capacities and take advantage of technical and scientific innovation to reduce future risk and increase resilience.

back to top →
  • Sri Lanka

  • An Owner-driven Approach to Reconstruction in Sri Lanka
    The December 2004 tsunami completely destroyed approximately 100,000 dwellings in Sri Lanka and damaged 44,290. The State Task Force used an innovative owner-driven approach to support housing reconstruction, providing grants directly to the owners for reconstruction; owners supplemented this grant with other donations. Most activities related to planning, layout, design and construction were delegated to local beneficiaries, who were supported by technical staff, allowing groups of beneficiaries to negotiate their costs down. On the other hand, a donor-assisted programme that followed a contractor-driven approach, without involvement of the community, had much lower satisfaction rates. The owner-driven reconstruction produced more houses, more quickly, of better construction quality, and at less cost. Space standards were generally better and the designs, layouts, and locations more acceptable to beneficiaries. The programme appears to have fostered a cooperative local social fabric and institution.
    Read the report at http://tinyurl.com/chjv6ps.

back to top →
  •  
  • Some key issues that must be addressed in recovery plans include debris removal, temporary housing and land for sites, and policies regarding whether buildings that do not conform to current zoning can be rebuilt in the same location.

  •  
  • Local authorities should lead the reconstruction process, using the crisis as an opportunity to plan for and improve development in the city and reduce future risks. In short, strive to improve the quality of life and sustainability of development in your city.