SDMM15003U Core Course 3: Disaster Recovery Planning and Development

Volume 2015/2016

Master of Disaster Management - compulsory
MSc in Global Health - elective


Actions taken during the period following the emergency phase is often defined as the recovery phase, which encompasses both rehabilitation and reconstruction. The precise time when one phase ends and another starts will vary in each situation. Recovery refers to the actions taken in the aftermath of a disaster to enable basic services to resume functioning, assist victims’ self-help efforts to repair physical damage and community facilities, revive economic activities and provide support for rehabilitation including the psychological and social well being of the survivors. It focuses on enabling the affected population to resume more-or-less normal (pre-disaster) patterns of life with the added dimension of reducing risks and vulnerabilities that led to the disaster in the first place and avoid creating new ones. It may be considered as a transitional phase between immediate relief and return to more major, long-term development.

Many of the decisions and issues concerning recovery closely relate to emergency response, preparedness, mitigation and long-term development planning. Therefore, the course is designed to help students understand the linkages between the various stages of the disaster spectrum.

This course primarily refers to recovery after fast-onset disasters, such as earthquakes, landslides, high winds and flooding as well as major health issues and outbreak of epidemics. Recovery after drought introduces many factors, which are outside the scope of the course, since timing and actions needed in this context are significantly different. The course also touches on recovery after war or civil strife.

The main content areas are:

  • Introduction to recovery principles and risk reduction in the recovery phase.
  • Pre-disaster recovery planning and post disaster recovery needs assessment.
  • Early recovery as an important linking stage between relief and response phase and recovery and development.
  • Reconstruction and physical rehabilitation
  • Psycho-social and mental health interventions
  • Exit and hand over strategies in recovery planning
Learning Outcome

On completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Place recovery within the wider development processes.
  • Understand the purpose of recovery.
  • Understand definitions and terms related to recovery and early recovery.
  • Understand linkages between development and risk reduction in recovery processes.
  • Describe and operationalise Recovery Guiding Principles.
  • Outline key factors, benefits, barriers, strategies and activities for integrating disaster risk reduction in recovery.
  • Understand tools, mechanisms and key relationships in pre-disaster recovery planning.


On completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Research into the issues of pre-disaster recovery planning and recovery implementation.
  • Apply concepts, standards, principles, and methods of recovery planning and operations to case studies.
  • Acquire the conceptual basis to appreciate the complexity of the recovery environment.
  • Develop a better ability to engage with and relate to disaster professionals – across sectors and disciplines and work collaboratively in a field situation through understanding some of the operational procedures in recovery related to international actors and national governments.
  • Develop a Recovery Framework and Plan for a specific case study.
  • Critically evaluate the strengths and limitations of the existing Early Recovery and Recovery mechanisms.


On completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Apply tools used for teambuilding and stress management and demonstrate knowledge about intercultural and interdisciplinary communication.
  • Identify and formulate a relevant and current research question and develop a vulnerability profile for a case study assignment.
  • Work independently in self-directed study.
  • Work in a group – teamwork and presentation.
  • Engage in dialogue and discussions, and argue a case.
  • Negotiation, including compromise, argument and trade offs.
  • Read and critique literature


There will be a variety of teaching/learning methods on the module ranging from lectures, to video screening followed by open discussions and to student led presentations. The teaching/learning methods could be listed as follows:
• Lectures - Imparting knowledge, concepts, theories and models
• Exercises – Inquiry or skills based with emphasis on analytical skills and problem solving
• Case Study Analysis – Review of previous practice and guided analysis of specific aspects of a case
• Videos – Guided with a set of questions or an exercise that follows
• Seminars – Self-directed by students and guided and mentored by tutors
• Presentations – of group assignments and feedback by a panel of tutors
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 16
  • Lectures
  • 36
  • Preparation
  • 116
  • Theory exercises
  • 40
  • Total
  • 208
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 48 hours
48 Hour Written Examination
An essay examination where answers clearly illustrate real case examples from the Case Assignment
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Exam period

See the exam plan

Criteria for exam assesment

To achieve the maximum grade of 12, the student shall be able to:

- refer to the Learning Outcomes