Linking Relief to Reconstruction

Linking Relief, Rehabilitation and Development (LRRD)

Disasters destroy development gains of individuals, families and societies. Disasters slow down the pace of development. Disaster recovery processes are always seen as desperate measures, necessary charity and a humanitarian imperative to provide means for survival and restore lives of affected population. However, with right thinking and vision, post disaster recovery process can be turned around from a survival desperation to an opportunity for development by linking relief, rehabilitation and development (LRRD) . This thinking was dawn on humanitarian agencies in mid 1990s, with realization that disasters cause immense damage to individual resources and cripple economies and the governance response to these losses has always been through bureaucratic structures and procedures which do not systematically take into account long term development issues. At the same time mainstream development processes do not take disaster losses in to consideration and don’t prepare financially and administratively to cope with future disasters. Therefore, it is vital that by linking relief and development these deficiencies can be reduced. Better development can reduce the need for emergency relief, better relief can contribute to development, and better rehabilitation can ease the transition between the two.
A post disaster recover manual developed by Emergency Management Australia suggests that “following a disaster the affected community will have needs ranging from housing and reconstruction of public facilities through to restoration of business and community activities. A critical issue is the speed which will be required for the restoration of the community. While the opportunities for improvement and community involvement discussed previously will be significant, these will be tempered with the requirement for early restoration and redevelopment. In this context, “broader community processes set in train by a disaster are not confined to the incident itself. It initiates a rolling series of impacts as repercussions are felt in different parts of the system. They continue to occur over time as the community goes through debonding, fusion, and differentiation.” These dynamic processes can trigger a new energy for development or can lead to a long term depression depending on various other circumstances. It is possible to turn these circumstance in favour of long term development with LRRD approach.

In its paper, published in 2005, UN HABITAT suggested that “Disasters can provide opportunities for sustainable development. But sustainable relief and reconstruction requires that rehabilitation efforts should be integrated into long-term development strategies. The theme of mobilizing sustainable relief and reconstruction – transforming disasters into opportunities for sustainable development – explores problems and possibilities including vulnerability, risk mitigation, planning and response”. LRRD wil help reduce piecemeal efforts that are not connected with the long-term development strategy . LRRD can help enhancing or at least maintain quality of life of affected population, can strengthen local economy, can lead to social equity, can improve environmental quality, and can reduce risk and vulnerability to future disasters.

Key Message: Disaster relief should be seen from the perspective of affected people. When it is seen form their perspective, humanitarian agencies will realize that the humanitarian assistance is not all about completing relief contracts, but using these contracts to facilitate communities to connect with their development process from which disasters disconnected them

Disclaimer: This article is a reflection of author’s personal thoughts, and all rights reserved by SAFE CITIZEN.ORG

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