Rebuilding communities after natural disasters: The 2009 bushfires in southeastern Australia

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Through nonrandom purposive sampling, this article examines the ways three Catholic agencies offered bushfire recovery assistance after the 2009 bushfires in the Australian state of Victoria. Participants from Catholic welfare agencies (29), local and state government (8), international recovery agencies (2), and others such as clergy, church, and medical (6) were selected, and senior managers, middle managers, and workers on the ground were interviewed up to 3 times during a 3-year period. The forty-five people were interviewed a total of 74 times. Study results illustrate the importance of adaptability, flexibility, and preplanning as the core of recovery assistance. Linking with local and state government disaster management plans and developing mechanisms to inform other groups as to the services that new agencies could provide were essential for filling gaps in services and establishing cooperative ventures. Recommendations are provided but more research is needed on how other agencies can benefit from the knowledge gained in this study.


School of Arts

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Journal Article

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