A succession of disasters affecting eastern Australia left communities, regions, and states with physical, mental, and resource exhaustion during 2019–2022. Fire, pandemic, and flood occurred in successive waves, hampering recovery efforts. We propose the phenomenon of community disaster fatigue to explain the failure of a community to recover, effectively function, and move forward following a series of disasters. To investigate indicators of community disaster fatigue, we undertook a case study in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales (NSW) and interviewed community leaders. The interviews were thematically analysed and then categorised through the application of the three overarching domains previously used to define community disaster fatigue: (A) defeatism, deterioration, and a lack of planning, (B) weakening health and wellbeing, and (C) corrosion of economic entrepreneurialism and decline in social capital. The results explain how disaster fatigue manifests in a diverse group of community leaders and the issues arising for their careers, volunteer workers, and communities. A major finding is that community disaster fatigue appears to be associated, on a collective level, with elements reflecting the breakdown of community resilience. Thus, as a contribution to practice, a theory of community disaster fatigue can also be useful in developing a strategy for building community resilience. Furthermore, the lack of surge funding, disengagement as a means of self-protection, and closure of local businesses, put the viability of the community at risk. Recent events indicate that closely occurring disasters should be factored into emergency planning, which is a realistic approach given the current trend of recurrent disasters in Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103831
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Early online date08 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'Indicators of Community Disaster Fatigue: A case study in the New South Wales Blue Mountains'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this