Leading in Disaster Recovery - A Companion through the Chaos (PDF)

Red Cross Strategy and Government Relations Manager, Elizabeth McNaughton, who co-authored the book says its motivation came from working during the Canterbury earthquakes.

“We realised nothing existed about leading while recovering from a disaster. Manuals for recovery programming and leadership in general abound. But leading in disaster recovery is a different experience – it is relentless, workloads are enormous, exhaustion sets in, you are making decisions constantly between competing priorities all while trying to imagine the future in a rapidly changing environment – and this continues for years.”

New Zealand Red Cross and a researcher from Stanford University interviewed more than 100 people from New Zealand and around the world. Leaders they spoke to had worked during the Haiti earthquake, Japanese Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and the Australian bushfires.

The Companion shares their hard-won wisdom, practical strategies and tools for people who find themselves in any sort of leadership role during a disaster.

The book is already in use by Red Cross teams in Vanuatu following Tropical Cyclone Pam and in Nepal after the latest devastating earthquake.

“Leaders both around the world and in Christchurch found the experience of sharing their stories with us very meaningful. The people who have used the book say they feel relief when they are connected to other leaders who really ‘get it’. The book will be their companion through the chaos that is a disaster. It is what we wished for when starting out on the recovery of Christchurch,” Ms McNaughton says.

Financing community resilience - a handbook

We've also launched a handbook containing lessons from the Christchurch earthquake recovery experience. The handbook provides a guide for cash transfers in future post-disaster response and recovery programmes. It is ordered from the first steps of cash transfer design and delivery to the close out of the project. Each section provides a series of questions linking to tables, diagrams, case studies and templates provided to guide you in your decision-making.

Read more about the handbook

Financing Community Resilience Handbook (PDF)