The resilient community and communication practice Page Content

Susan Nicholls

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Recent thinking in the field of emergency management suggests that resilience and adaptability need greater focus for both pre-disaster strengthening of communities and for the longer term psychosocial welfare of communities affected by disasters (Cork, 2009, 2010). Resilience is intimately associated with good communication whereby mutual understanding, fostered by two-way communication, delivers both needed resources to communities, and intelligence regarding community needs to relevant agencies. Without resilience, communities are not likely to recover after disaster. In this context, governments are rightly concerned with the maintenance of robust and fully functioning communities that are able to withstand the shock of disaster, whether caused by nature or human intervention. However, the problem for government agencies is how to communicate with people at risk - which, given recent extreme weather and geological events, is virtually the entire population - initially to encourage preparation and mitigation activities, and later to assist with recovery following disaster. Communication strategies for both of these stages are difficult to implement well and can be politically risky. My contention in this paper is that communication intended to foster resilience means more than simply delivering information. This is true of all stages of the emergency process - prevention, preparedness, response and recovery. This paper examines the components of resilience in the context of disaster; the role communication can play in promoting resilience, and proposes some pointers toward the use of communication to assist in building and maintaining resilient, adaptable communities.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-6
    Number of pages6
    JournalAustralian Journal of Emergency Management
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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