I am currently undertaking a research based PhD at the Australian National University. I have left my career of almost 30 years in the Australian Public Service, to undertake this important research. My PhD is focussed on the topic of this website ~ understanding what communities do themselves to recover after natural disaster, and what other actions support that recovery.
I am reviewing Australian and international academic literature on this topic. There are three phases of my fieldwork – literature review, interviews with key leaders of disaster recovery, and community based fieldwork. Having found a gap in the available research on the topic, I am gathering the observations of leaders of disaster recovery, and of community members, about how community recovery occurs and what actions and activities assist that recovery the most.
All of us who are affected by natural disaster know that losses are often great and sometimes seem unbearable. And yet, we manage to stand back up and keep moving forward. We move on, or rebuild – we find a way to renew, a way to recover. For some this task is too hard and it is difficult to work out what to do. I want my research to help with that process.
Through my research I hope to give a voice to Australian communities, to tell their own stories of what works, how they recover, what ‘gets them up in the morning’ to keep on going. My research will be shared with communities everywhere and I hope it will be a rich source of ideas – things to try if you aren’t sure what to do. Things that just may help your community to begin or ‘help along’ the process of recovery.