|Disaster Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Policy (International Committee of the Red Cross , 1993, 11 p.)|
The balancing of needs with resources is critical at all stages of post-disaster activities. While the relief period may attract large national and international inputs, rehabilitation and reconstruction may not benefit from such high levels of attention. Prioritisation of investment becomes critical where monetary resources are limited and sectoral needs are too many to meet.
In large disasters, not only various sectors but also a large number of regions, districts or settlements are often competing for the same funds and for the attention of the same authorities and expertise. Strong community or administrative leadership is critical at this stage in marshalling national and international support. Local administrative preparedness plans and general capacity, together with technical mechanisms that are in place before the disaster, usually contribute significantly to expeditious recovery. Although some dependence on external resources is to be expected after a large scale disaster, excessive dependence can cause loss of local control and delays in recovery. Small communities that have sustained heavy damage are most likely to become dependent on external inputs of this kind.
In deciding on action, take into account the views of the affected community. Do not assume they are helpless victims. People affected by disaster soon start trying to cope by themselves. The role of the National Society is to assist them in doing this. Community participation in identifying and meeting their own un-met needs is essential. They know best what they need.
Resources for rehabilitation should be channelled to enhance local capacities to cope with the effects of disasters and to maximise community self-reliance. Efforts should not duplicate or provide that which is locally available or undertaken. Continuous consultation with the local agencies and the affected population is essential in this process to identify unmet needs and possible obstacles to rehabilitation as well as to avoid duplication of efforts.