Society for Earthquake and Civil Engineering Dynamics
The focus of this paper is on decision-making after a disaster. Based on case studies of recovery after 10 major disasters three fundamentally different processes, types of decision and decision-making groups are distinguished:
1. Meta decisions by politicians and policy makers, preferably made pre-disaster, but in many cases made in the first week or so after the disaster strikes.
2 Operational decisions made by disaster managers responsible for response, relief and early recovery, for the first 6-18 months after a disaster and who may also be concerned with preparedness, awareness raising and training issues before pre-disaster.
3. Planning decisions made by policy makers, urban planners, economists etc. responsible for physical, economic and social recovery and reconstruction from a month after the disaster for 1-5 years. (They may also be responsible for pre-disaster mitigation measures designed to reduce the impact of future disasters.)
The paper discusses the relevance of theories of rational and “irrational” decision-making for disaster management and presents a model of recovery based on four sets of factors: Information, Construction, Governance and Resources, The model is used to assess recovery after the 10 major disasters. It is suggested that it might also be used as a checklist in assessing the preparedness and “resilience” of countries at risk from natural hazards.