Once the federal government decides that it is no longer their responsibility to deal with recovery from large disasters, other organizational entities come into play. The slow response of the federal government in disaster recovery has been witnessed at all levels of both the preparation and recovery in the past disasters such as the hurricane Sandy. The government’s ineptitude was witnessed through public fury in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The large disasters such as Hurricane Katrina provide a body of evidence for evaluating the role of federal government in disaster recovery as well as its effectiveness (Steven P. Bucci et al., 2015, p.2).
Historically, the disaster response and recovery has not been a role of the Federal government. People affected by the disasters turned to their families, faith-based and community organizations as well as nongovernmental organizations for support. The local and state governments only provided assistance in the form of rescue operations and enforced civil order. The initial aid for disaster recovery was allocated after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire for rebuilding of infrastructure and public as well as social amenities. In 1979, there was the creation of the Federal Emergency Management Administration (Labadie, 2008, p. 575).
The role of government in disaster recovery has been unsatisfactory calling for stepping back in the favor of other institutions that are equal to the task. The poor performance of the federal government in disaster recovery is attributed to its centralized nature and incentives accompanying decision-making. The centralized institutions like the federal government experience difficulties in harnessing knowledge and acting upon widely dispersed information on the disaster recovery compared to other organizational entities such as the local governments (Labadie, 2008, p. 584). Besides, the government tends to lack effective feedback mechanisms for evaluating the success of disaster recovery efforts. Unlike other organizations such as charities and local governments, the federal government fails to identify the specific disaster needs of the victims. The feedback mechanisms are largely hindered by the political process.
More responsibility for disaster recovery should be returned to the states and the local government organizations because of the vital role they play in the community. Besides, it is crucial not to overlook the contribution of the faith-based organizations and the entire private sector. The federal government through FEMA has been falling short of planning for catastrophic disaster response and recovery as witnessed in Gulf oil spill and the Hurricane Katrina. The failure of FEMA’s effectiveness in disaster recovery is hindered by the fiscal crises of the federal government (Lucilio & Davis, 1999, p. 11). Therefore, the state governments and other local institutions have concentrated on allocating resources for response and recovery.
Nongovernmental organizations play a vital role both in the state and national government to deliver important disaster recovery activities on a voluntary basis. These include faith-based and non-profit organizations that assess the victims and the disaster area as well as provide emergency food supplies, shelter, and other essential services to promote the return of the community to normal (Lucilio & Davis, 1999, p. 15). The nongovernmental organizations bolster the efforts of the federal government on the disaster recovery by being committed to specific interests and values. The organizations include the American Red Cross, National Voluntary Organization Active in Disaster and the Volunteers and Donations. The private sector entities play a crucial role in the disaster recovery through a partnership with the federal government. The entities provide critical infrastructure for the rapid reestablishment of normal operations following a disruption (Marie, 2010, p. 1).
However, replacing the federal government’s involvement in disaster recovery with the organizational entities is a step backward. The organizational entities, the local and state governments, get the resources from the federal government when a disaster strikes. The Federal Emergency Management Agency coordinates the activation, and implementation of the recovery plans (Marie, 2010, p. 3). For the national disasters, the responsibility of government is great as the voluntary agencies and other organizational entities cannot provide the necessary support required to bring the situation to normal. The local governments prepare for their role in disaster recovery with the support of both the federal and state governments.
Planning for post-disaster recovery is an essential process in disaster management. It involves a set of policies for rebuilding and recovery after a disaster to give guidance on post-disaster reconstruction. FEMA gives a comprehensive plan for post-disaster recovery for withstanding natural disasters. The factors behind the planning for post-disaster recovery include public safety and economic recuperation. Post-disaster recovery planning outlines the measures of achieving resilience through best practices (Masters, 2006, p. 19). The failure to plan effectively for post-disaster recovery presages next disaster and limits collective maximization of government, private and nongovernmental resources that are available at the community level.
The recovery planning is guided by the implementation of policies that are informed by the needs of the local communities. The planning for post-disaster recovery blends the research literature information and the existing practice with the purpose of uncovering problems and the effective solutions (Masters, 2006, p. 20). The planning involves setting a clear future vision for reconstruction using the lessons from the disaster. Unlike other planning such as response, the post-disaster recovery planning concentrates on the reconstruction efforts to make the community affected return to normalcy. On the other hand, planning for the disaster response and preparedness aims at dealing with the disaster as it strikes to reduce the consequences. The response planning involves risk assessment to develop effective guidelines for mitigation.
On the other hand, the activities outlined in the post-disaster recovery planning have little to do with the initial disaster but reconstruction and redevelopment (O'Hanlon & Budosan, 2011, p. 7). The response and preparedness planning aims at providing guidelines on what to do and whom to contact when a disaster strikes for minimal loss. The notion of post-disaster recovery planning is to minimize the disruptions caused by the occurrences. The response planning is meant to protect people and property as safety is the priority. However, the post-disaster recovery planning aims at identifying the needs of the communities affected by the disaster for stabilization of their lives (O'Hanlon & Budosan, 2011, p. 10). The aim of disaster response planning is to strengthen the preparedness for effective actions. The planning for response and preparedness incorporates the guidelines for coordination of all types of emergencies.
On the contrary, the post-disaster recovery planning focuses on community reconstruction by identifying the people responsible for post-disaster recovery, the collaborative techniques, hazard mitigation, and sustainable development. The common activities emphasized in the post-disaster recovery include repair to physical damage to infrastructure and housing as well as counseling therapy for the affected individuals. Post-disaster recovery planning also takes into consideration the aspects of economic sustainability through reduced risk in the reconstruction processes. Besides, the environmental vulnerability of the population is considered to return their lives to normalcy. Post-disaster recovery planning aims at familiarizing both the national and local decision-makers on the concept of recovery in restoring and improving the living conditions of the disaster victims.
Disaster recovery is returning a community to normal. The ability to recover from physical injury, economic and emotional impairment from a disaster is critical for the disaster management (Edwards, 1998, p.116). The actions of the community members to reduce losses and suffering, as well as psychosocial viability are also an important component of recovery (Pfefferbaum, Reissman, Pfefferbaum, Klomp & Gurwitch, 2007, p.350). Full recovery is best achieved when the resources are shared and support coordinated from all levels. The community recovery efforts help in mitigating both the short and long-term impacts by introducing sustainable improvements. Recovery involves a set of actions that are coordinated to reduce the consequences of a disaster (McEntire, 2002, p.369). It forms part of the comprehensive emergency management. It involves coordinated information on the community needs and advocacy for the disaster victims. It also incorporates coordinated donations of goods and services as well as a voluntary effort to enhance clean-up and reconstruction to facility healing and returning the community to normal.
Disaster recovery entails stopping human suffering, economic loss, and enhance a sustainable community (Nakagawa & Shaw, 2015, p.7). The collaboration of the different disaster management stakeholders from the government agencies to private sector entities is crucial to achieving a successful community recovery. The organizations collaborate in sharing information, tasks, resources as well as decision-making to assist the disaster victims. Collaboration in disaster recovery improves the service delivery through reduction of fragmentation and duplication of efforts.
Disaster recovery incorporates all the efforts that help the affected people return to their normal lives. The activities include post incidence reporting, developing of initiatives that help to mitigate the effects of future incidents, social, environmental, political and economic restoration (Kim, 2015, p. 159). The activities also include long-term treatment and therapy for the affected persons as well as housing programs to promote restoration. The disaster recovery activities continue beyond the emergency period with an aim of restoring lifelines. The short-term recovery plans include immediate actions that mainly overlap with response (Kim, 2015, 159). These include restoration of interrupted utility, essential public health and safety services as well as food and shelter for the displaced. Some of the short-term recovery activities may last for weeks. The short-term recovery takes care of the societal needs of the victims of disaster such as maintaining their stability as well as crisis counseling. On the other hand, the long-term recovery actions of reconstruction take a long time after the disaster. These may include the long-term care of the patients and counseling procedures to help the victims cope with the aftermath of the incidents (Kage, 2013, p. 6). The long-term recovery goals depend on the severity and the damage sustained by the damage sustained by the disaster. The process of disaster recovery is consensus-based and compatible with the community’s long-term goals and the principles of sustainability.
An effective recovery entails holistic approaches of promoting the wellbeing of the community consideration the community interests. The first step towards holistic disaster recovery is the identification of the obstacles that may hinder the process, and the assessment of the community needs (Kim, 2015, p. 160). It is important to coordinate and manage all the post-disaster decisions to overcome the barriers to recovery. Holistic disaster recovery achieves the necessary change and sustainability (Kage, 2013, p. 7). Besides, the efforts of recovery are sustained to prevent further loss of life and event in case the incident repeats. A disaster recovery plan is an essential tool describing the phases involved in the implementation. It facilitates the entire process. The phases of the plan include the risk analysis and disaster assessment to ascertain the level of damage. The second phase is the activation and plans to mobilize resources for the execution of disaster recovery. The execution is done according to the outlined procedures before engaging in reconstruction and restoration (Smith, 2014, p. 306). It is necessary to understand how the community functioned before the disasters to return them to the normal lives. It is also crucial to stabilizing the incident before resolving the physical, social, economic, and environmental impacts.
The disaster recovery process is conducted under the guidelines of the National Disaster Recovery Framework for effective recovery and support of the victims and reconstruction of the disaster-stricken areas of the United States. The framework provides a flexible structure for operating in a collaborative and unified manner to restore, rebuild revitalize health and safety of the victims, social, economic, and environmental aspects of the community. The framework is set in the presidential policy directive eight while directing the actions of FEMA in recovery (Frailing & Harper, 2015, p. 1207). In the United States, the National Disaster Recovery Framework defines the core principles of recovery and the responsibilities of the stakeholders. It provides a structure that enhances collaboration, communication, and problem-solving.
The National Disaster Recovery Framework provides the focal point for the process and monitoring of the decision-making process. The states have their disaster recovery plans (Frailing & Harper, 2015, p. 1210). However, they implement the plans with the federal government and other organizations to achieve a holistic approach. While most of the recovery in the United States is the responsibility of the federal government that provides the necessary resources, the governments of the developing countries lack the necessary resources for effective planning and implementation of disaster recovery. Most of the disaster recovery is done by charitable organizations, faith-based groups, non-governmental organizations and private sector entities through long-term care of the patients and reconstruction of basic infrastructure (Schwartz, 2005, p. 36).
Recovery from disasters such as natural calamities has not been easy for the developing countries as they have to rely on the developed countries and the funds from the United Nations Development Program to restore normalcy (Fallara, 2004, p. 44). The conditions have been experienced in Haiti and Cuba after earthquakes. The Hazard management unit of the World Bank provides a leadership structure that is proactive for the mitigation and prevention of disasters, especially in the developing world. The unit provides technical support in the form of policy development to promote disaster risk management (Smith, 2011, p. 15).
The recovery from disasters in the developing countries is hampered by limited assets, equipment and resources to dedicate to the activities. The economic loss from the natural disasters is sometimes higher than the gross national product of some countries. Unless non-governmental and humanitarian agencies as well as the assistance from the developed world come into play, they cannot achieve a successful disaster recovery (Schwartz, 2005, p. 39). An example is the annual flooding that is witnessed in Bangladesh. The United States has been dedicated to providing financial support to most of the developing countries for mitigation of disasters (Fallara, 2004, p. 43). The World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction and the United Nations Development Program have been crucial in assisting the developing countries build capacities for designing and implementing comprehensive disaster recovery and reconstruction plans (Blondel, 1990, p. 373).