There is little evidence of long-term successful collaborations in disaster response that are not underpinned by government funding and do not take a top-down approach. Without established networks in place, there are significant difficulties for emergency management organisations to enter vulnerable communities and immediately gain trust, knowledge and motivate collective action.
A study undertaken by Dr Fiona Roberts, Monash University Disaster Resilience Initiative, has found that not-for-profit organisations may be the key to entry into communities as these organisations are generally trusted and are long-term ‘gatekeepers’ of communities.
This research identified evidence of significant and constructive resilience-building actions undertaken by the not-for-profit sector. Actions include providing quick access to local assets (machinery ownership or skills, community kitchens), providing physical assistance (water, toilets, food, clean-up or shelter) through to contributing long-term recovery actions lasting years (establishing and funding Mens’ Sheds, tool libraries or community activities).
Used more effectively, and because they want to help, not-for-profit organisations could generate savings through risk-reduction measures and hasten recovery from disasters.
Read the complete article in the latest AJEM edition.
Images show Rotary Chainsaw Safety and Lions' Need for Feed initiative.