Experts discuss why Recovery Matters

The first sessions from the AIDR Recovery Matters webinar series are now available online, with further sessions to run in the future.

With many people engaging with the disaster recovery process for the first time following the 2019-20 bushfire season, the first webinar explored the fundamentals of disaster recovery with John Richardson from Australian Red Cross and Kirsten Jenkins from Maroondah City Council in Victoria.

The session explored human impacts and responses to disaster, the recovery process, the role of local government, politics, media, theory and practice from past recovery events.

‘Recovery is not a dark art, it is mainly common sense and draws upon a lot of what we already do and know,’ said Mr Richardson.

The Recovery Matters webinars get to the heart of key issues that are important to disaster recovery. AIDR invites expert speakers to share their thoughts and illustrate disaster recovery in action.

Kirsten Jenkins explored the role of local governments in the recovery journey.

‘People in local government don’t work for local government to be overseas aid workers, but they find themselves suddenly responding in the middle of a disaster;’ Ms Jenkins said.

The second session in the series specifically explored community-led recovery, with Louise Mitchell from the Social Recovery Reference Group and Margaret Darveniza from Townsville City Council sharing their insights.

In reference to community-led recovery in the context of the current COVID-19 restrictions, Ms Mitchell described the mix between hope and challenges.

‘We can’t gather together face-to-face physically, but what is hopeful is that I’m seeing people in communities trying to work out what to do together, to work out their solutions,’ she said.

Both speakers explored the role of communities in recovery and building resilience towards future natural hazards.

Ms Darveniza discussed the building blocks for successful recovery a year on from the Townsville floods, including campaigns, community leadership and community champions.

‘There is nothing more powerful than a community led by spontaneous volunteers just getting in there’ said Ms Darveniza. ‘No two stories of disaster recovery are the same, and no two communities are the same, Ms Darveniza said.

Future webinars will continue to centre around the theme of disaster recovery. If you are interested in speaking at a future Recovery Matters webinar, please email