Inside Page Baner

Recovering From a Disaster

Disaster recovery is the coordinated process of supporting individuals and communities (including psychosocial recovery) in the reconstruction of physical infrastructure (services and lifelines), restoration of the economy (including financial and political considerations) and of the environment, and support for the emotional, social, and physical wellbeing of those affected following a disaster event.

Although disasters cannot be prevented, we can take steps to better understand the hazards and potential impacts associated with them. This knowledge can be used to implement measures that can mitigate against impacts, reduce recovery and reconstruction costs, safeguard communities and lessen the likelihood of significant consequences in future disaster events.

Ex-Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie

The rain depression from Ex-Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie passed over South East Queensland for just 24 hours and brought falls of 400mm and winds up to 120km/h throughout Logan. This triggered a record flood event for the City of Logan, inundating hundreds of properties in the Logan and Albert river catchments during the period 30 March 2017 to 5 April 2017.

The flood was classed as a 100-year event for the Albert River and a 20 to 50 year event for the Logan River. From the time the first weather warning sounded, people banded together and offered to help each other – first to prepare for the event, and then to respond and recover. At first volunteers answered the call for help and then community groups, not-for-profit organisations, local businesses, charity groups, volunteer organisations, religious groups and state government agencies stepped up to provide longer term assistance.

The experience we have all gained in the response to and recovery from Ex-Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie can assist the City of Logan to build our resilience to future events. It is the responsibility of everyone to continue to build resilience in our communities, from state and local governments to individuals and local business. The better we all prepare, the better our response and recovery in future events can be.

Council has produced the Ex-Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie Recovery Report (PDF 6055 KB) to acknowledge and congratulate the Logan community who have demonstrated the courage and resilience to rebuild and implement the lessons identified to make the City of Logan a strong and connected community.

Disaster recovery

Disaster recovery is the coordinated process of supporting individuals and communities (including psychosocial recovery) in the reconstruction of physical infrastructure (services and lifelines), restoration of the economy (including financial and political considerations) and of the environment, and support for the emotional, social, and physical wellbeing of those affected following a disaster event.

In a disaster event, there are four functions of recovery that are interdependent of each other and one cannot operate effectively without the other. These functions are:

  • Economic (including financial and political considerations)
  • Environmental
  • Human-Social (including psychosocial recovery)
  • Infrastructure (services and lifelines)

Effective recovery requires a multi-agency approach and a coordinated effort by all agencies. The Logan City Local Disaster Management Group is responsible for coordinating recovery of Logan City, in conjunction with various state and local agencies, following a disaster event. The Queensland Recovery Guidelines provides a framework for recovery for the state and outlines the priorities and considerations of the four functions of recovery.

Economic

Economic recovery includes the planning and implementation of economic and financial recovery in Logan. The objectives and considerations of economic recovery include, but are not limited to:

  • Assessing impact on key economic assets
  • Stimulating the renewal and growth of the economy within the affected area
  • Supporting individuals and households (e.g. through employment services, income service and assistance with insurance claims)
  • Facilitating business, industry and regional economic recovery and renewal
  • Facilitating financial assistance, access to funds and loans and employer subsidies
  • Recovering from the intangible effects of an event (e.g. loss of business confidence and quality of life)

Environmental

Environmental recovery includes the coordination of recovery of the natural and build environment and ensures public health and safety is addressed during the recovery phase of a disaster. The objectives and considerations of environmental recovery include, but are not limited to:

  • Assessing impact of the event on the natural environment (e.g. recreational water quality, ecological impact, environmental pollution) including impacts on native flora and fauna
  • Collaborating on measures to rehabilitate the affected natural environment, including environmental parks, natural waterways and riparian areas and wildlife
  • Coordinating preservation of community environmental assets (e.g. environmental reserves and wetland areas)
  • Undertaking mitigation strategies to reduce future impacts on the natural environment where appropriate
  • Monitoring and providing advice on potential environmental hazards and pollution issues (e.g. recreational water quality, rainwater tanks and septic systems)
  • Coordinating management (including collection and disposal) of environmental waste including hazardous materials (e.g. asbestos), including mitigating exposure to hazardous materials and contaminants
  • Providing advice on the control and prevention of communicable diseases, including and mitigating exposure to hazardous biological materials and contaminants
  • Coordinating, collaborating on, monitoring and assessing clean-up operations, particularly associated with dangerous chemicals and hazardous waste substances
  • Promoting safe keeping of animals and managing animal hazards through impounding and containment
  • Monitoring for animal welfare issues and facilitating wildlife rescue services
  • Coordinating measures to promote safety of food and water supplies, personal hygiene and public and household sanitation
  • Monitoring and coordinating disease outbreak investigations and delivery of immunisation / immunoglobulin programs
  • Coordinating vermin and vector surveillance and control and safe disposal of dead animals
  • Coordinating measures to promote maintenance of on-site plumbing and drainage, on-site sewage and wastewater treatment and disposal
  • Coordinating measures promoting safe refuse/debris disposal and hazardous waste disposal, including provision of disposal (including waste transfer) facilities
  • Coordinating provision of public/environmental health advice - covering those aspects of human health determined by physical, chemical, biological and social factors and the assessment and control of those factors - and designed to prevent disease and create health supporting environments
  • Coordinating public health advice warnings

Human-social

Human-social recovery includes the planning and implementation of recovery in the areas of safety and well-being, physical and psychological health and social aspects. The objectives and considerations of human-social recovery include, but are not limited to:

  • Provision of relief measures to assist persons affected by the event who do not have resources to provide for their own well-being, including temporary accommodation
  • Provision of personal support and information to individuals and households affected by the event
  • Provision of financial assistance to meet immediate individual needs and uninsured household loss and damage
  • Providing physical health and emotional support and assessment and monitoring of social impacts
  • Supporting community development activities to restore community support services, networks, capacity and resilience

Infrastructure

Infrastructure recovery includes the planning and implementation of housing, commercial and industrial buildings and structures, and physical infrastructure, including telecommunications, power, water, transport. The objectives and considerations of infrastructure recovery include, but are not limited to:

  • Assessing damage to housing stock, commercial and industrial buildings and structures, rural structures, and infrastructure facilities
  • Coordinating building safety inspection services and securing damaged buildings and structures
  • Coordinating demolition of unsafe buildings and structures
  • Coordinating repair and rebuilding matters of housing stock
  • Coordinating disposal of hazardous material and debris
  • Coordinating recovery of utility (power, water and telecommunications) infrastructure, which is normally undertaken by infrastructure owners and operators
  • Coordinating restoration of public schools and public building infrastructure, sporting facilities and public playgrounds
  • Coordinating recover of road and other transport infrastructure
  • Prioritising repair and reconstruction activities, where appropriate
  • Considering mitigation measures (e.g. flood risk reduction) when planning for rebuilding and reconstruction.

Successful recovery relies not only on state and local agencies but also on the community, through community-led approaches. As a Logan community member, it is important to think about recovery for your family, your local neighbourhood and your business.

For more information about Logan City Council’s Recovery Strategy, download the Logan City Local Disaster Management Plan (PDF 2752 KB) or visit the Queensland State Government’s Disaster Management website.