Monthly Archives: November 2014

Lets talk about disaster recovery

Last week in London saw the discussion of great practitioner minds and academics talking to each other on recovery. My supervisor facilitated a session on what research on recovery is needed and in this blog I am trying to type-in the notes and discussions we had from the Shelter Forum 2014, and World Bank Technical group discussions on the recovery framework and guidelines.

What we don’t know about recovery?

1. What is meant by recovery and who owns it? How does it look like?

2. What is the evidence for an integrated approach? 

3. What do we know about self-recovery, building back better, inclusive approaches, and equitable approaches? 
4. What are the alternate funding architecture for recovery
Maybe if we look at development opportunities – microfinancing vs top down donor-led approaches
5. Why is recovery messy? Because of the timescales – can we look back during the project, end of project, 10-15 years later?
6. Are we learning about context analysis for recovery, resettlement issues after disaster?
7.How do we change approach from programme to systems and how do we pay for that?

“The objectives of recovery framework is so normative, value laden without defining the principles such as inclusive, pro-poor. When the governments here are not pro-poor what are we expecting the developing, and underdeveloped country governments should be pro-poor?”
“Of course disaster provides an opportunity to instil changes, there are household level changes in gender, when men die or migrate, the women take over, these are changes that can be lasting, if we act upon it.”
Counter-argument – “There is a political aspect to social-engineer change post-crises, and clearly change will happen, but humanitarians cannot be the driver of this change”
My mind buzzed with the thought “How lasting is the change and what is the nature of change if disasters are frequent”
“Communities are suffering and recovering successfully from localized small-scale disasters like loss of livestocks. They are having the connections and dialogue with local leaders, governments, CSOs and local enterprises. There is local knowledge, participatory approaches, and prioritization of those affected, there is an opportunity after disasters of course.”
However lets not forget that funding and short-term thinking disregards this local knowledge, and there is a danger of idealizing communities. There is a polarization of resources after a disaster, there is a shock and stress component, collective action is the key, as individual action is often detrimental.
Lastly, the current mechanisms of aid we do not have financial mechanisms to maintain that continuity, no one to hand that baton to. The donors keep changing the goalposts.

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