Supporting post-disaster social recovery to Build Back Better

Abstract Purpose – This paper aims to propose a set of principles for implementation of successful post-disaster social recovery in-line with the concept of “building back better” (BBB).

Design/methodology/approach – A set of preliminary principles for post-disaster social recovery was established from literature review. The 2009 Victorian Bushfires was chosen as a case study to examine the implemented social recovery approaches and impacts.

Findings – Analysis of the literature and case study have led to the creation of a set of modified BBB principles for social recovery under two categories, first, community support and, second, community involvement. Key principles under first category include: providing personalized support for affected families, specialized support for vulnerable groups and improved psychological support; building community cohesion; and keeping the community informed. Key principles under second category include: involving the community in designing and implementing recovery projects; providing support to the community; and maintaining full transparency.

Research limitations/implications – This study focusses on one case study. The appropriateness and applicability of the proposed principles can be further tested using a range of different case studies in both developed and developing countries.

Practical implications – The principles presented should be incorporated into post-disaster social recovery programmes implemented by governments.

Originality/value – This research takes a unique look at drawing from international experiences to form a set of practical and universal principles to aid post-disaster social recovery as an important part of BBB.

Keywords Post-disaster reconstruction, Participatory approaches, Build back better, Social recovery, Victorian bushfires

Paper type Research paper

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