Post-disaster recovery: the challenge of anticipation
University Paul Valéry – Montpellier III, Joint Research Unit GRED (Governance Risk Environment and Development)
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The recurrence of disasters, sometimes in the same territories, questioned the effectiveness of the preventive logic and of the post-disaster recovery process. The present reconstruction approach aims at analysing the interactions between risk, societies and territories. The study of the recovery process in a holistic way through a medium and long-term feedback defines its operating rules, and its “good and bad practices” regarding the objectives of risk reduction and sustainable development. The lack of anticipation, the numerous uncertainties and the emergency in which the decisions are taken, lead in many cases, to risk persistence and increased social gaps. When “preventive ethics” is integrated into the process, it remains occasional and marginal. Reconstruction does not start from a “zero state”; it is subjected to territorial, economic and political constraints. Thus, in order to make the postdisaster reconstruction a preventive opportunity, an anticipatory effort is needed - though necessarily limited - it must be accompanied by an ex-post planning. These considerations will be illustrated by the examples of the recovery of two French departments: the Aude department after the 12th and 13th November 1999 floods, and the Var department after the 15th and 16th June 2010 floods.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2016
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