Understanding long-term recovery in the post-disaster environment: a case study in Moora, Western Australia

Helen Smith

    Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

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    [Truncated abstract] Recovering from natural disasters is a relatively under-developed area of disaster management research where the emphasis, up until now, has concentrated on disaster planning and mitigation. The ‘ability’ to recover has recently been recognised as a fundamental aspect of community vulnerability and resilience and therefore needs to be an integral part of long-term planning and disaster mitigation. Moreover, there is little understanding of the specific factors that contribute to the effective and efficient recovery of a community. In an effort to reduce this research gap, a case study investigation of community recovery in the regional town of Moora, Western Australian, was undertaken. Despite being devastated by a flood event in 1999, the town has recovered to a large extent and the community has exhibited a high degree of resilience and provided an opportunity to examine an uninterrupted long-term recovery process. The aim of this research was to examine the long term recovery process of a small rural community in Western Australia. More specifically, the project explores the various roles that individuals, community and regional organisations and government authorities played, and continue to play, in the long-term recovery process. To this end, the following research questions were addressed: 1. What were the type, scale and roles of organisations involved in the recovery process? 2. Which organisations – state, local and community - were perceived to have the greatest influence on the recovery process at the community and household level? 3. What factors influenced long-term recovery in Moora? The foundation of the methods used in this research was the empirical model of long-term recovery developed by Kates and Pijawka (1977) identifying four stages of the recovery process: emergency, restoration, replacement and reconstruction, and developmental reconstruction. Using a mixed methods approach comprising (i) semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders involved in the recovery process; (ii) a household survey; and (iii) archival analysis of newspapers and other material, an understanding of the various factors (institutions, policies, processes, actors, relationships, time) that contributed to the town’s recovery was gained. The method involved triangulation of data to form a comprehensive perspective to identify the actors (organisations and individuals), roles, involvement and influences, during each phase of Kates and Pijawka (1977) long-term model of recovery...
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2013


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