Organising the management of disaster recovery and construction: A built environment perspective

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1 Organising the management of disaster recovery and construction: A built environment perspective Thayaparan Gajendran The University of Newcastle, Australia Jamie Mackee The University of Newcastle, Australia Graham Brewer The University of Newcastle, Australia Helen Giggins The University of Newcastle, Australia Raichel Le Goff The University of Newcastle, Australia Abstract Post-disaster recovery and reconstruction is a complex process. Complicated social, political, technical and legal aspects impact upon the recovery course of action. Generally, recovery and redevelopment phases require multi-sector engagement, a wide range of distinct skills and significant resource commitment. These requirements are usually satisfied through involving different organisations. Among others, built environment-associated skills and resources have an important role to play in the recovery and reconstruction. It is proposed that holistic and systematic organisation of a post disaster recovery management plan is critical for successful redevelopment. This paper presents a discourse on post disaster recovery experiences and identifies key issues impacting on the organising of management of the post disaster recovery/reconstruction. This paper analyses semi-structured interviews, conducted with professionals from government, built environment and humanitarian organisations. Interview data is coded and thematically analysed to identify the key themes. The findings suggest that creation of Temporary Organisations with specific aims, managed by different levels of government and community, enable enhanced coordination of permanent organisations/agencies, stakeholders and other resources assisting reconstruction. Therefore, this paper contributes in developing further understanding into the organisation of the management of disaster recovery and construction. Keywords: built environment, reconstruction, stakeholders, temporary organisations, coordination

2 1. Introduction Although various scholars (Drabek and McEntire, 2002; Chen et al. 2008) have researched issues regarding multi-agency management during disaster response, few have looked at the obstacles and challenges that coordinating the various agencies presents, in the post disaster recovery period. There is limited research into the post disaster reconstruction organisation area, as the emphasis remains on coping with emergency situations and rapid response mechanisms. In the aftermath of a disaster, community members, relief workers and managers in charge of reconstruction, need to understand each other s work processes, yet are often limited by poor coordination. Whilst all of the persons who took part in our preliminary study agreed that systematic organisation plans need to be in place, they presented wide-ranging obstacles and challenges that impede the success of the exercise as a whole. At the same time, their recent experience with a major disaster has given them the opportunity to offer valuable insights and recommendations. The findings of our study have been framed around five key interviews that provide the foundations of building a conceptual model for generic multi-agency disaster response. 2. Post disaster redevelopment: the key issues identified in literature Historically, post-disaster recovery literature has concentrated on examining localised frameworks of emergency response such as the Australian management of forest fires (Britton, 1984) or the Indian Ocean tsunami (Telford, J. and Cosgrave, J. 2006). It is only in recent times that disaster resiliency has been viewed from an interdisciplinary perspective (Bosher and Dainty, 2011; Kapucu et al., 2012; Gajendran et al., 2011). Further, studies on disaster recovery are typically centred around one specific event, such as the Kashmir earthquake (Halvorson and Hamilton, 2010) or one type of natural disaster such as flooding (Lamond et al. 2012), earthquakes or forest fires (Trevitt, 1994). Another strong aspect of the literature is that due to the disproportionate loss of life in disasters of the developing world, research generally concentrates on improving resiliency in those countries (Cannon, 1990; United Nations, 1992; Seraj et al. 2000). However, recent calamities in developed nations such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Japanese tsunami in 2011, mean that the importance of resiliency and sustainability in the built environment has never been so universally relevant and has pushed the research into a new sphere of study that promotes improving recovery and preparedness through an integrative approach that uses networks (Amaratunga et al. 2011; Magsino, 2009). Networking is about organising, and this leads researchers to look at disaster recovery management strategies that can be applied with a broader scope, whether it be an urban or rural context (Lizarralde et al., 2010).

3 Attempts to simplify the problem of post-disaster reconstruction, reducing it to technical issues, building design, choice of materials, etc., rarely produces results. Instead, the challenges have to be tackled and understood within their real and full complexity. (Lizarralde et al. 2010, p248) Using the case study of post-katrina New Orleans, to demonstrate the negative state of a recovery effort that remains sadly uncoordinated, researchers Maret and Amdal (2010) propose that: the success of rebuilding after disasters depends primarily on the organisation and coordination of a variety of different efforts and programs at all levels of government and society. Extremes of response may vary from heightened bureaucratic processes to direct civilian intervention; however, in all cases, cities need to find the right mix to maximise efficiency to affect a timely recovery. (Maret and Amdal, 2010, p110). Maret and Amdal (2010) advocate developing an overarching structure to coordinate the multiple recovery strategies in place or pending, utilising the bottom-up-model approach. At great cost, distressed neighbourhoods were delegated individual response support teams to develop recovery plans unique to their community. Similarly, Bowd and Özerdem (2010) maintain that participatory research, via the effected community, offers reasonable outcomes: If a community, through their participation, can contribute to the design, development and implementation of a development project or post-disaster reconstruction programme so too can they expect, and be expected, to make contributions to the evaluation and assessments of these projects and programmes. (Bowd and Özerdem, 2010, p21). This paper follows the participatory research approach and is aimed at examining the challenges facing post forest fire disaster survivors in Australia and discovering what opportunities there were for a return to normalcy. The key issues identified in the research in relation to multi-level agency management are described in Table 1, a model for coordination levels in a recovery exercise: community/individual, permanent agencies and temporary agencies. A body of literature, typically in the form of articles from disaster management journals, reviews procedures and experiences through these three agency levels of participation. Hollander (1990) and Quantarelli (1982) discuss social exchange and organisational problems in response to disasters with respect to volunteer and community participation. Cutter et al. (2006) and Van Zandt et al. (2012) look at rehousing, resilience and recovery from a socioeconomic viewpoint and Johnston et al. (2012) and Marcillia and Ohno (2012) examine community involvement in the rebuilding process, both individual and agency driven. The role of permanent, mainly government, agencies is explored by Comfort et al. (2004), Kouzmin et al. (1995) and Weick and Sutcliffe (2001). Temporary units formed in response to the disaster that fill the gap between community and pre-existing government agencies are the

4 focus of Xu and Yi (2013), in relation to post-wenchuan Earthquake recovery and reconstruction and Kapucu (2006), who stresses the importance of interaction between federal units and core local agencies in the wake of the 2001 New York World Trade Centre disaster. 3. Research contextualisation and methodology Management of natural disasters that take place in a non-urban area is often limited by the size of Local Government Areas (LGAs). If a catastrophic disaster occurs where a small Local Government Council (LGC) is present, as opposed to a smaller disaster occurring in an area with a large local government agency, then different strategies need to be in place. In the second scenario, the LGC can usually absorb the management of the disaster recovery but in the case of a small LGC facing a large degree of devastation, temporary agencies need to be drafted in. For research purposes, the case study focuses on a major non-urban disaster that occurred as the result of forest fires (called bushfires ) in Australia. Although the bushfires in this instance affected an area of a significantly large area (hundreds of thousands of hectares), focus was concentrated on one community that suffered the highest degree of loss and damage in both human and built environment terms. Being a semi-rural community, there were very few industrial and commercial buildings in this area and the main structural damage was residential, with the loss of a number of public buildings and infrastructure that supported the community. Five interviews of one-hour duration were conducted with persons of key management positions in the disaster recovery effort that included members of different organisations attached to diverse stakeholder groups: Interviewee 1 (I1): A member from the special unit established at local government area level to focus on community infrastructure redevelopment. I2- A member of the special unit established at state level. However, this interviewee was initially involved in early disaster clean up as an employee of a private contractor then worked for a state level special unit established to coordinate the disaster. Finally, some members of this special unit were absorbed into a permanent government agency focused on bushfire disaster recovery. I3- Chair of a community recovery committee that was active for two years following the disaster. This unit was established as state government initiative. The interviewee is also a local fire survivor. This committee acted as a liaison between local government, state government and federal government agencies (self-described). I4- A senior member of a state government department associated to health services: not a resident of the affected community and with no previous experience of working in a disaster zone.

5 I5- Senior manager of the local council affected by the disaster responsible for sustainability and re-developing the economy and tourism industry. 4. Data Analysis The data analysis found a number of issues that impact redevelopment after a catastrophic disaster in a small regional community with a small local government and limited resources. The disaster redevelopment fund allocated by the state for community infrastructure in the region was approximately $30M. On top of this, there was financial support for disaster survivors to reconstruct their homes. Donations from philanthropic organisations and individuals also supported the reconstruction. The analysis indicates that the reconstruction of the built environment through a community participation approach is a complex process. Despite viewing the key stakeholders associated to disaster reconstruction as pre-existing, it is evident that these stakeholders can be reorganised into different units in different ways, to make the post disaster redevelopment efficient. The analysis identified the key stakeholders and then identified the challenges associated with reconstruction. Finally, it presented reorganisation of stakeholders into communities or organisations to create a functional network for engagement with the post disaster redevelopment. 4.1 Community infrastructure vs. Residential infrastructure redevelopment: key stakeholders Analysis of interviews identified a number of stakeholders who can be broadly classified into Local Government Body (Council), State Government (Parliament), State Government Agencies (regulatory bodies, health related agencies, community development agencies etc.), Non-Governmental organisations, community groups (formal and informal), Industry/Trade Associations, Philanthropists /donors, financial/insurance organisations, and consumer advocate organisations. The data analysis indicated the organisation of and process applied to the redevelopment of community infrastructure and residential infrastructure was different. Many government and non-governmental agencies dealt with individuals who had issues associated to their residential reconstruction. The focus was on individual situations (cases) - specifically people who did not have insurance and had mental health issues. In this instance, information sharing among agencies (government, community agencies) proved vital not only in assistance with counselling victims, but also in informing the community what help was available to them (I2). The community infrastructure redevelopment mainly involved government agencies and community groups. Each of these stakeholders faced different challenges/opportunities in terms of organising the post disaster redevelopment. A number of temporary organisations were also created to assist with the redevelopment, which assisted to address some of the issues faced, by the permanent organisations or stakeholder groups. The thematically identified issues impacting post disaster reconstruction are discussed below:

6 4.2 Capacity of the existing governing body to deal with recovery In post disaster situations most government agencies (e.g. Local Councils) are required to conduct business as usual (core business) in addition to coping with the disaster reconstruction work. If the agency is not large, and the disaster damage is extensive, the agencies may struggle to deal with the workload without additional assistance/resources (I1). In this case study open consultation with the communities, with the aim of gathering their voices and ideas for rebuilding and revitalising the area, generated more than three times the amount of suggestions than anticipated (I3). Such situations demand decent amount of resources to prioritising and identify key needs. Therefore, lack of resources to deal with victims and to cater for demanding situations could portray some government agencies as lacking in empathy (I3). 4.3 Agencies approaching the disaster reconstruction with shortterm temporary staff Government agencies were utilising temporary personnel who came in to help community planning from other workplace locations for short periods before leaving again. It was noted quick rotation of specially trained disaster recovery management personnel from Commonwealth government agencies was ineffective: which if you're going to have a long term case management approach or any case management approach, having people coming in for three weeks and then having to assign a new case manager was really quite ridiculous. (I4). This caused business continuity issues - delays and setbacks of several months in length, whilst new personnel acclimatised to their work environment and gained the community s trust. (I3). 4.4 Managing disaster reconstruction funds and accountability Limitation/inflexibility in how the funding allocated for disaster redevelopment can be used, posed considerable challenges. Not able to use National Disaster Funds to deal with disaster reconstruction through in-house local government agencies, forces them to engage external contractors (I1). Nevertheless, the procurement rules (scrutiny) in LGAs make this process prolonged. Moreover, accountability associated with use of public funds particularly prioritising community needs for facilities, are challenging (I1). From a residential infrastructure point of view, dealing with people who did not have insurance, was a challenge. Despite most uninsured individual survivors receiving funds from donations and government assistance, some recipients used the money for other purposes, leaving not enough for rebuilding their homes (I2).

7 4.5 Procurement and supply chain related challenges Supply of labour and material was hampered by remote location of the rural community (I4). It was difficult to find tradesmen available and willing to travel to the fire zone to work and there was difficulty in obtaining supplies (I3). Initially Council staff tried to deliver works within the Local Government Act as they were accustomed to do in pre-disaster procurement. However the problem was that the quantum of the work is such that you need to have appropriate contracts in place or appropriate procurement processes. Such processes were lacking and supply contractors could not be engaged. (I1) 4.6 Dealing with mental health issues and safeguarding survivors from organisations with opportunistic and profiteering approach Many of the people who had lost homes and businesses and were uninsured, developed mental health issues. In turn, this severely compromised their motivation to engage with the rebuild and renew process. This presents a client challenge from a builder s perspective. (I3, I4). A small minority of building contractors took advantage of the post-disaster climate, (primarily in residential infrastructure), to inflate prices and deliver poor reconstruction work (I3). The government agencies had to assist individual victims affected by such builders. 4.7 Managing regulatory changes affecting reconstruction Changes in the planning, zoning and building rules proved somewhat a hindrance to the rebuilding process (I4). Many fire survivors who had to rebuild, had never built a new home before and required assistance with respect to building permits, planning permits, boundaries, property ownership, etc. In some instances, the new codes required the use of materials that still hadn t been invented. New fire restrictions also meant that residents had to build better and therefore, more expensive, houses than they had owned originally (I3). 4.8 Decision Making Process - Balancing external and community based approaches One of the key issues associated with redevelopment decision making was enabling any key decision makers in the local community (local government members/council staff), affected by the disaster, to take time while redevelopment was partly managed by the state (I3). I3 indicated that if decisions makers (e.g. Council members) are personally involved in the disaster themselves, it may be wrong to encourage them to stay in their positions in the post-disaster period. The other issue was that local councils had to compete for decision making with a loosely formed government authority that was established directly after the fires and that consisted of people with expertise in rebuilding from the corporate sector, but also senior bureaucrats from relevant departments. Council wanted to work with some existing community

8 groups who had a lot of local knowledge and had been functioning well before the fires, in order to maximise community engagement, but at the same time, the Government came into the area and set up their own community recovery committees (I5). 5. Discussion The results suggest that different stakeholders face different challenges in relation to post disaster reconstruction. Stakeholders can be grouped into two broad categories in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. They are namely: (a) permanent organisations/agencies that constitute government/private organisations and (b) individuals/communities who are affected by the disaster and who are also viewed as disaster survivors (see Figure 1). Figure 1: A conceptual map of stakeholder organisations for post disaster reconstruction. In general, in disasters of all scales, the agencies/organisations identified under permanent organisations will be engaging or managing disaster reconstruction work that focuses on assisting individuals (concentrated on residential infrastructure) and communities (focusing on community infrastructure). However, whether they can effectively cope with the additional workload arising from the post disaster reconstruction, depends on the scale of the disaster and the size of the agency. By way of example, large agencies may be able accommodate reconstruction work arising from a small-scale disaster; that is to say, the permanent organisations can deliver their on-going core services while accommodating the additional work arising from post-disaster reconstruction. However, small agencies dealing with largescale disasters can struggle to maintain the delivery of their core services, while coping with

9 additional post disaster reconstruction work. Moreover, members of the agencies or organisations can be disaster survivors themselves, making it hard to resume normal operations in a reasonable amount of time. In this case study, three transient or temporary organisations were created to deal with the post disaster construction.

10 Table 1: Summary of the result: The role of Temporary Organisation in multi-level organisational coordination Boarder Stakeholder Groups Individuals/ Communities Transient /Temporary Organisations Specific stakeholder organisations Individual disaster survivors Pre-existing community organisations (e.g. Sports groups, charity groups) Pre-existing informal groups (based on certain interest, people who have lobbied for service etc.) Transient units created to deal with a specific disaster with specific aims and timeframes (around three years) o Sate Level Recovery Unit o Local Government Level Reconstruction Unit (Primarily focused on Community Infrastructure) o Community Engagement Unit Issues faced by Individuals/community and Permanent organisation stakeholder units Individual issues: o Access to reconstruction resources o Dealing with rogue contractors o Dealing with mental health issues Community Minority shadow community groups hijacking the reconstruction agenda How TOs assist in linking Individuals/communities to permanent organisations to deal with the issues Engage individual to voice their concerns/challenges with their residential reconstruction to the State formed TO and Local Council Engage pre-existing formal community groups and informal community groups to have representation in the Temporary Community Organisation State level Temporary Recovery Organisation coordinating the permanent state agencies to assist individuals through case management approach. Local Government recovery unit coordinated all the community reconstruction activities through liaising with the Temporary Community Organisation, State Level Recovery unit and Local Council Coordinate multi-level community engagement The TOs enabled Creating a link between individual fire victims and permanent agencies and work on the ground. Reliable organisational procedures Prioritising works, division of roles e.g. project managers - funds allocation Appropriate legal and political support Permanent Agencies/ organisations Local Government Body (Council) State Government (Parliament) Stage Government Agencies (regulatory bodies, health related agencies, community development agencies etc.) Non-Governmental organisations Industry/Trade Associations (including construction industry) Philanthropists /donors Financial/insurance organisations, and Consumer advocate organisations Business continuity issues- Temporary/rotation of staff appointed by permanent organisations, left too many issues associated to business continuity Smaller government agencies lack of capacity to cope with workload Pre-existing Local Government works conflict from a non-traditional Council division Community endorsement for reconstruction projects Creating a command structure during inter-agency response and coordination levels Reliance on protocols and communicating new or changes to legislations to individuals Dealing with opportunistic behaviours of commercial entities through existing organisational structures and processes Managing disaster fund spending progress Dealing with new TOs to engage in reconstruction whilst maintaining core business Establish inter-organisational collaboration processes Monitor progress from each agency s point of view Monitoring timelines and budget restrictions Accountability issues including budgeting and decision making Setting up appropriate procurement/contract processes and resource management protocols specifically assisting disaster situations

11 Table 1 provides an illustration of multi-level organisation including circumstances contributing to the creation of TOs and the nature of the organisation. These TOs were setup with specific goals and time frames to deal with post disaster reconstruction. The state level organisation was created to coordinate the disaster reconstruction (managing resources, coordinating the permanent agencies to assist disaster survivors). However, there was also a danger of TO s Community Engagement Officers becoming too emotionally involved with the plight of fire survivors. In addition, TOs if not set up with proper communication channels, could lead to contradiction in the agendas of different agencies. 6. Conclusion This paper discussed a case study specifically seeking to understand the challenges faced by different stakeholders and some of these challenges can be addressed by re-organising processes through Temporary Organisations (or transient stakeholders). The key challenges faced by different stakeholders included (a) Capacity of the existing governing body to deal with recovery, (b) Agencies approaching the disaster reconstruction with short-term temporary staff, (c) Managing disaster reconstruction funds and accountability, (d) Procurement and supply chain related challenges, (e) Dealing with disaster survivors with mental health issues and their decisions, (f) Safeguarding survivors from organisations with an opportunistic and profiteering approach, (g) Managing regulatory changes affecting reconstruction and (h) Decision Making Process - Balancing external and community based approaches The findings suggest that establishing Temporary Organisations (TOs) as transient stakeholders can attract additional resources while providing the opportunity to create a timetask specific agenda for reconstruction. Moreover, when a TO s scope of operations is contextualised via existing or permanent organisations, it provides much needed business continuity. Overall, the case study results provide the basis for a conceptual approach of organising the reconstruction process. It provides a starting point for further research into multi-agency coordination in post disaster recovery and reconstruction. References Amaratunga, D. and Haigh, R. (2011) eds. Post-disaster reconstruction of the built environment: rebuilding for resilience, Chichester, West Sussex, UK ; Ames, Iowa : Wiley- Blackwell. Bosher, L. and Dainty, A. (2011). Disaster risk reduction and 'built-in' resilience: towards overarching principles for construction practice. Disasters, 35(1): Bowd, R. and Özerdem, A. Eds. (2010) Participatory Research Methodologies: Development and Post-Disaster/Conflict Reconstruction. Farnham, Surrey, GBR: Ashgate Publishing Group. Cannon, T. (1990). Rural people, vulnerability, and flood disasters in the Third World. The

12 Hague, Netherlands: Publications Office, Institute of Social Studies. Chen, R., Sharman, R., Rao, R., and Upadhyaya, S. (2008). An exploration of coordination in emergency response management. Communications of the ACM, 51 (5) Comfort, L., Dunn, M., Johnson, D., Skertich, R., and Zagorecki, A. (2004). Coordination in complex systems: Increasing efficiency in disaster mitigation and response. International Journal of Emergency Management, 2 (2) Cutter, S. L., Emrich, C. T., Mitchell, J. T., Boruff, B. J., Gall, M. Schmidtlein, M. C., Burton, C. G. and Melton, G. (2006) The long road home: Race, class, and recovery from Hurricane Katrina, Environment, 48 (2) Drabek, T., and McEntire, D. (2002). Emergent phenomena and multiorganizational coordination in disasters: Lessons from the Research Literature, International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters, 20 (2) Gajendran, T., MacKee, J. and Brewer, G. (2011). Agile construction supply chains for disaster resilience: a theoretical review, in Amaratunga, D. Haigh, R. Keraminiyage, K. Kulatunga, U. and Pathirage, C. (eds.), International Conference on Building Resilience 2011: Interdisciplinary approaches to disaster risk reduction, and the development of sustainable communities and cities, University of Salford, Halvorson, S. J. and Hamilton, J. P. (2010). In the aftermath of the Qa'yamat: the Kashmir earthquake disaster in northern Pakistan, Disasters, 34 (1) Hollander, H. (1990). A social exchange approach to voluntary cooperation. The American Economic Review, 80 (5), Kapucu, N. (2006). Interagency communication networks during emergencies: Boundary spanners in multiagency coordination. American Review of Public Administration, 36 (2) Kapucu, N., et al. (2012). Disaster resiliency: interdisciplinary perspectives. New York, NY: Routledge. Kouzmin, A., Jarman, M., and Rosenthal, U. (1995). Interorganizational policy processes in disaster management. Journal of Disaster Prevention and Management, 4 (2) Lamond, J. et al. Flood hazards : impacts and responses for the built environment. Boca Raton: CRC Press, c2012. Lizarralde, G., Johnson, C. and Davidson, C., (2010) Eds. Rebuilding after Disasters From emergency to sustainability. London: Spon Press. Magsino, S.L. (2009) Applications of social network analysis for building community disaster resilience; Board on Earth Sciences and Resources, Division on Earth and Life Studies, National Research Council of the National Academies, Washington, D.C. : National Academies Press. Marcillia, S. R. and Ohno, R. (2012) Learning from Residents' Adjustments in Self-built and Donated Post Disaster Housing after Java Earthquake 2006, Asean Conference on

13 Environment-Behaviour Studies (Ace-Bs) 36, Maret, I. and Amdal, J. (2010) Stakeholder participation in post-disaster reconstruction programmes New Orleans Lakeview, in Rebuilding after disasters, Lizarralde et al. (2010) 110. Quarantelli, E. (1982). Social and organisational problems in a major emergency. Emergency Planning Digest, 9 (1) Seraj, S. M., et al. (2000). Village infrastructure to cope with the environment : proceedings of the Third Housing and Hazards International Conference: Dhaka/Bangladesh/24-26 November 2000 [and] Exeter/UK/4-5 December Dhaka, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology and Housing and Hazards Group, School of Engineering, University of Exeter, UK. Telford, J. and Cosgrave, J. (2006). Joint Evaluation of the International Response to the Indian Ocean Tsunami: Synthesis Report. London: Overseas Development Institute. Trevitt, C. (1994). Developing a National Bushfire Management Strategy. Search, 25 (4): United Nations Centre for Regional Development. and Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific. (1992). Development of modules for training on integrated approach to disaster management and regional/rural development planning, Bangladesh, January Nagoya, United Nations Centre for Regional Development. Van Zandt, S., Peacock, W. G., Henry, D. W., Grover, H., Highfield, W. E. and Brody, S. D. (2012). Mapping social vulnerability to enhance housing and neighborhood resilience, Housing Policy Debate, 22 (1) Weick, K. E., and Sutcliffe, K. M. (2001). Managing the Unexpected: Assuring High Performance in an Age of Complexity. San Francisco: Jossey-Bas. Xu, J. P. and Yi, L. (2013). Counterpart Assistance: A Systematic Approach for Post- Wenchuan Earthquake Recovery and Recovery and Reconstruction, Disaster Advances, 6 (2)

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