This chapter is designed to assist community leaders with what to expect when operating in the disaster recovery space. Local place-based community organizations, such as not-for-profits and non-governmental organizations, are pivotal to building the resilience of their communities. Although not established specifically for disaster response, the day-to-day activities of these community organizations have provided them with an unmatched understanding of their community and its needs. Following a disaster, they do not require lead-in time to familiarize themselves with the community due to already delivering essential services and the local presence of their existing operations. Frequently, they already managed groups of trained volunteers. As such, these leaders have high levels of expectations placed upon them to assist in disaster recovery. Despite these expectations, their organizations typically remain underfunded and there is little recognition by government authorities of the actual and potential contributions they are able to make. In 2013, fires swept through the Blue Mountains NSW, destroying over 200 homes and damaging many others. Local community leaders found themselves operating in the recovery space without being linked into the official emergency management processes. When the Black Summer bushfires swept through Australia’s eastern states in 2019/20, these community leaders knew what to expect, had developed various approaches to previously identified issues, and could capitalize on networks made with emergency services. Our research has informed the development of two generic guides to assist community leaders to prepare for working in the disaster recovery space. Informed by lessons learned and presented in an easy-to-adapt format, these guides are designed for uptake by local community leaders in any region.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication International Handbook of Disaster Research
EditorsAmita Singh
Place of PublicationSingapore
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9789811688003
ISBN (Print)9789811688003
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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