2 thoughts on “Realistic Recovery Expectations

  1. Most Americans think of a “disaster” as a force of nature that creates newsworthy photos and video clips. It’s something that lasts for a few hours to a couple of days. But if we use Fritz’ definition of disaster, we can see it differently: “disaster is an event, concentrated in time and space, in which a society of a relatively self-sufficient subdivision of society, undergoes severe danger and incurs such losses to its members and physical appurtenances that the social structure is disrupted and the fulfillment of all or some of the essential functions of the society is prevented.”
    If we understand “disaster” as “disruption of functions of society,” then we can understand that recovery is not “post-disaster,” but rather it IS the disaster. Disaster survivors perceive the disaster as something that lasts for months and years, because that’s what it is. And they experience cognitive dissonance with their news media understanding of “disaster.” We certainly need to improve the disaster recovery system, but we also need to adjust expectations of what is a disaster and how long it lasts.

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