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Recovery from The Storm: Resilience and The Role of Community Capital in Long-Term Disaster Recovery in Regional Western Australia

 In order to achieve long-term sustainable recovery in hazard-prone settlements, the factors which contribute to internal community resilience need to be better understood. Through an examination of ‘community capital’, this paper examines the actors and relationships involved in the flood recovery process of a regional community in Western Australia.

 This research employs a case study approach consisting of face-to-face qualitative interviews and historical research to develop an understanding of the recovery processes in Moora. In order to understand the complexities of the recovery processes, a case study methodology was best suited. Interviews were conducted over the month of February 2011 extending between 1-2.5 hours and were recorded and transcribed for further analysis. Snowballing identifying additional participants resulted in 21 interviews, three of which incorporated two people’s inputs at the same time, representing a cross section of the various stakeholders in the Moora Shire.

 Moora’s recovery process highlights how a local community can effectively leverage their own resources as well as those from outside the community or region.

 Whilst the recovery process was not perfect, Moora provides an example to state and regional governments that helping to facilitate a bottom up recovery process can provide a better result than traditional top-down processes. By making use of community capital through the develop of strategies that allow a community to internally absorb shocks and provide support once a shock has occurred, the burden of response on state agencies is reduced. Furthermore, without understanding the various factors that form the social and political capitals available within a community, external organizations that plan and respond to disasters might hinder, rather than help the recovery process.


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