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Post-disaster social recovery: disaster governance lessons learnt from Tropical Cyclone Yasi

Abstract

Post-disaster social recovery remains the least understood of the disaster phases despite increased risks of extreme events leading to disasters due to climate change. This paper contributes to advance this knowledge by focusing on the disaster recovery process of the Australian coastal town of Cardwell which was affected by category 4/5 Tropical Cyclone Yasi in 2011. Drawing on empirical data collected through semi-structured interviews with Cardwell residents post-Yasi, it examines issues related to social recovery in the first year of the disaster and 2 years later. Key findings discuss the role played by community members, volunteers and state actors in Cardwell’s post-disaster social recovery, especially with respect to how current disaster risk management trends based on self-reliance and shared responsibility unfolded in the recovery phase. Lessons learnt concerning disaster recovery governance are then extracted to inform policy implementation for disaster risk management to support social recovery and enhance disaster resilience in the light of climate change.

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Acknowledgements

This research has been funded by the Griffith Climate Change Response Program, the Cardwell Community Futures Forum, Australian Regional Institute. We thank the Cardwell community members for their time and participation in this research. The authors thank the two reviewers who provided insightful comments to the original manuscript.

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Correspondence to Silvia Serrao-Neumann.

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Serrao-Neumann, S., Crick, F. & Low Choy, D. Post-disaster social recovery: disaster governance lessons learnt from Tropical Cyclone Yasi. Nat Hazards 93, 1163–1180 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-018-3345-5

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Keywords

  • Disaster risk reduction
  • Natural hazards
  • Resilience
  • Australia
  • Self-reliance
  • Shared responsibility