What is it?
Disaster recovery is about rebuilding, restoring, and returning the everyday routines of the community and its residents. It is the process by which we return children to school, adults to work, and families to their routines.
How is it different from disaster response?
Disaster response is what happens directly after the disaster. Disaster response focuses on life safety, removing debris, and returning people to their homes in order for the emergency shelters to be closed. Once the emergency shelters are closed people can return home or move into temporary disaster housing. The children can return to school in order for the parents to return to work. Disaster Response is about clearing what was destroyed, so that recovery can begin.
Disaster recovery is about the healing process. It is about providing for the unmet needs of the most vulnerable and supporting everyone in the community. Disaster recovery focuses on a whole community approach to assessing the needs of everyone and how to make the community better then what it was before the disaster. It is also about rebuilding the transportation and infrastructure; restoring the environment, coastal and historical needs; and returning to the social norms of the community.
It Takes Time
When does it start?
The disaster recovery process begins as soon as the disaster or incident begins. Disaster response and recovery can occur together, and are not necessarily separate phases.
How long does it take?
Disaster recovery does not happen overnight. It takes time. Depending on the disaster or incident, it may take days, weeks, months, or even years. Some communities are still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Andrew, which occurred almost 23 years ago, and Hurricane Katrina, which occurred 10 years ago. Recovery can be broken into three phases: short term (days), intermediate (weeks to months) and long term (months to years). Depending on the disaster type and size these phases will vary in length for both the individuals and the communities affected.
How do you know when it is over?
You know when recovery is over once the community reaches a sense of normalcy. It is over when all of the unmet needs that occurred due to the disaster are resolved.
Who does it start with?
Help begins with you. You and your family need to have a disaster plan in place. If you are prepared for a disaster then the recovery process will begin a lot faster for your family. The more families that are prepared, the faster the community can recover.
Are there resources for those that need them?
Yes, there are resources to be found within the community, local government, state government and federal government. Disaster recovery centers may be established with multiple agencies from the state and federal government to assist individuals, depending on the size of the disaster.
What is a Long Term Recovery Committee?
Lee County, Florida has a Long Term Recovery Committee that is composed of representatives from private, non-governmental, government, business, non-profit agencies, community based and faith-based organizations. The purpose of the committee is to support families and individuals residing in Lee County, after a disaster. The committee provides collaborative leadership in determining the long-term needs for recovery and rehabilitation by sharing information, simplifying resident access to services, and providing for the unmet needs of the community.
If you need assistance that is non-life threatening or have any questions on where to get help in order for you to recover from the disaster, please contact the United Way or your local Emergency Management Agency.