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Recovering from an incident

Disaster recovery is:
"...the process of returning an affected community to its proper level of functioning after an emergency". Source: State Emergency and Rescue Management Act 1989, Section 5(d).

"The coordinated process of supporting disaster affected communities in the reconstruction of the physical infrastructure and the restoration of emotional, social, economic and physical wellbeing". Source: Australian Emergency Manual, Disaster Recovery Emergency Management Australia 2004.

Recovery may also provide an opportunity to restore and improve all or any of these aspects beyond previous conditions, by enhancing social and natural environments, infrastructures and economies which contribute to more resilient communities.

Following any major incident or disaster, the community needs to be able to return to day-to-day business as soon as possible. To achieve this, basic utilities and functions need to be restored and usual operations resumed as a priority. These include, but are not limited to:

  • exclusion zones reopened or downsized
  • immediate and ongoing services to meet psycho-social wellbeing needs
  • transport arrangements in place
  • businesses re-opened and operating
  • schools and school activities affected by the incident re-opened and operating
  • basic utilities such as water, electricity restored
  • vital infrastructure restored
  • IT and telecommunications restored.


Recovery centres will be established and will enable victims, and family and friends of people affected by the event to access appropriate services and assistance such as temporary accommodation etc.

The State Emergency Recovery Controller from the NSW Department of Justice will establish the State Recovery Committee and coordinate the deployment of resources for the recovery operation. In cases of recovery from incidents involving widespread and longer term health issues and counselling services, NSW Health is the lead agency.