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During and after a disaster, the affected communities try to figure out how to recover and rebuild to a new normal. They also work on mitigation solutions to reduce the risk of damage from the next disaster. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF) is scalable and flexible guidance on how the whole community can build, sustain, and coordinate delivery of recovery capabilities. The focus of the NDRF is to help prepare the community to recover, regardless of the size of the disaster, and encourages an inclusive recovery process which brings together traditional and nontraditional whole community partners to lead, manage, coordinate and participate in recovery efforts while increasing the community’s resilience.
An important focus of the framework is that the community leads their recovery process and they have a realistic, well-planned, and a clearly communicated plan for a successful recovery. The framework explains how whole community partners – emergency managers, government agencies, private sector, nongovernmental organizations, and the public – collaborate and coordinate the best recovery and resiliency plan that fits the community’s need. The state and federal government play important roles as supporting partners, providing the community with resources and the support they need.
It is important that the recovery plan and process includes the whole community. This includes people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs, as they are a part of the whole community and they can offer knowledge and expertise on what they need to recover and how the community can better help prepare for next disaster.
A successful recovery requires flexibility, a unified and coordinated effort from the community, commitment to completing projects on time, understanding, and addressing various challenges and needs the community has. Each community’s recovery plan will be different and is based on the circumstances of the disaster’s impact on the community, the obstacles they may face, how they design their plan, and what their priorities are for recovery.
The National Disaster Recovery Framework has six Recovery Support Functions (RSF) that are led by designated coordinating federal agencies that work with other primary agencies and supporting organizations whose programs may apply to a specific support function. The Recovery Support Functions are Natural & Cultural Resources, Housing, Economic, Infrastructure Systems, Health and Social Services, and Community Planning and Capacity Building.
The Natural & Cultural Resources Recovery Support Function is led by the Department of Interior, and supports the protection of natural and cultural resources and historic properties in the community.
The Housing Recovery Support Function is led by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and coordinates housing solutions that are affordable and accessible to the whole community, including people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs.
The Economic Recovery Support Function is led by the Department of Commerce, and works with the local community, state, tribal and federal governments, and the private sector to rebuild the local economy.
The Infrastructure Systems Recovery Support Function is led by the US Army Corps of Engineers, and works with the community to restore their infrastructure systems and develop a stronger mitigation plan to protect them from future disasters.
The Health and Social Services Recovery Support Function is led by the Department of Health and Human Services, and addresses the community’s public health, health care facilities, and important social services needs.
The Community Planning and Capacity Building Recovery Support Function is led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and engages the community in their recovery planning and capacity to implement and manage their recovery plans. This function builds short-term and long-term community resilience, and empowers the local community leaders and members to make decisions on how to improve recovery outcomes for the whole community.
As the NDRF is flexible and adjustable, the community is able to modify its recovery plan to fit their needs. Each part is an important piece in helping you and your community recover from a disaster and be better prepared for the next disaster. The recovery process will be a long and challenging one, but when all of these different parts of the framework work together as a team, they can help reduce the challenges and length of your recovery.
For more information about your community’s recovery plans, contact your local emergency manager and learn more about how you can prepare, participate and best support your community.