Building community resilience to disasters : a practical guide for the emergency management sector

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Becker, J.S.; Johnston, D.M.; Daly, M.C.; Paton, D.; Mamula-Seadon, L.; Petersen, J.; Hughes, M.E.; Williams, S. 2011 Building community resilience to disasters : a practical guide for the emergency management sector. Lower Hutt, N.Z.: GNS Science. GNS Science report 2011/09 40 p.

Abstract: The Crown vision for Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) is “Resilient New Zealand – communities understanding and managing their hazards”. Resilience can be considered with regards to several interdependent levels: built environment; attitudes/behaviours; and community and cultural factors. Working to develop resilience characteristics within a community can influence the way our communities prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters. This paper discusses how to measure and build resilience and at New Zealand society’s capacity to draw upon individual, institutional and collective resources to cope with and adapt to the demands and challenges of natural disaster occurrences. Research shows that individual and institutional attributes can be used as resilience indicators, and this paper looks at these indicators with regard to eight New Zealand case studies where community programmes have been successful in developing resilience. This publication is a ‘how to’ guide aiming to provide an outline of how to measure and build resilience and what resilience means for New Zealand communities. The guide outlines the key indicators of resilience and provides details about each while providing suggestions for the emergency management community on targeting and developing these indicators in communities. The paper discusses available resources and communication messaging to help build resilient communities, and comments on how to link the development of disaster resilience with other community development initiatives to provide a cost-effective approach to risk management. (auth)