The Recovery Challenge
The process of Recovery begins the minute the dust has settled or water has drained away following major disasters even in the midst of continued response operations. Local officials and community services begin with an assessment of needs that provides for immediate assistance to victims. Relief efforts often continue for weeks, months and even years after response operations are closed out. Emergency Recovery actions support temporary shelter as well as the necessary food, water, clothing and counseling services to victims and their families.

Short-Term Recovery

Short-term needs of the affected community are addressed as soon as possible following the emergency response. Services typically focus on moving from temporary shelters to transitional housing, transportation and providing economic stability to individuals and businesses. This phase is marked by the restoration of routine government services, debris removal, and financial assistance from insurance, loans or grants that allow for a return to more pre-disaster conditions within the community. Unless these short term needs are addressed they can become a drag on the over-all recovery.

Long-Term Recovery

Long-term Recovery focuses on the needs of the larger community or region in order to rebuild and restore or sustain economic viability. A Long Term Recovery Task Force is often formed to coordinate the necessary repairs to critical infrastructure, re-building homes and businesses and the restoration of essential elements of the community that contribute to the over-all social and economic well-being of citizens are all of major concern in the long-term recovery. Long term recovery requires a commitment to the needs of the community while addressing the risk future disasters.

Unmet Needs

The unmet needs of citizens in the long-term phase are coordinated by community service organizations and faith-based groups that provide on-going support in the form of case management to individuals who, for many reasons, have not be able to benefit from previous and on-going recovery efforts. Some victims of disaster may have an economic hardship, be physically disabled or suffer from psychological or other medical conditions that would make it difficult or impossible to overcome the impact of a disaster. Resolving unmet needs may be the greatest challenge of the Recovery.