My paper is about resilience, and arises out of my connection with an organisation called Australia21 and my research interest in community recovery after disaster.
Resilience is intimately associated with good communication. Without resilience, communities are not likely to recover after disaster. In this context, governments are rightly concerned with the maintenance of a robust and fully functioning society that is 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.
My 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.
See you at the conference!
– Dr Susan Nicholls
Dr Susan Nicholls is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Australian Institute for Sustainable Communities, University of Canberra.