For information about recovery from specific emergency events, go to:
or phone the Disaster Recovery Hotline: 1800 302 787
Visit sa.gov.au/recovery for:
- advice about what to do after an emergency or disaster
- information about the help available after an emergency or disaster.
This site supports the SA.GOV site by providing general information about what disaster recovery is, and how the Department of Human Services (DHS) contributes to disaster recovery. It also contains DHS publications relating to disaster recovery.
- What is disaster recovery?
- National principles for disaster recovery
- State Recovery Office
- Emergency relief
- State Emergency Relief Fund (SERF)
- Managing donated goods following a disaster
- People with vulnerabilities in disasters
- Council disaster recovery planning
- Reports on disaster recovery operations
- Related information
Disaster recovery is the coordinated process of supporting communities that have been affected by a disaster in the reconstruction and restoration of psycho-social, economic, built and natural environments.
The SA Emergency Management Act 2004 defines recovery operations as:
"the conduct of any measures (such as human, economic and environmental measures) taken during or after an emergency, being measures necessary to assist the re-establishment of the normal pattern of life of individuals, families and communities affected by the emergency and includes–
(a) the restoration of essential facilities and services; and
(b) the restoration of other facilities, services and social networks necessary for the normal functioning of a community; and
(c) the provision of information, material and personal needs; and
(d) the provision of means of emotional support; and
(e) the recovery of the natural environment; and
(f) support to assist the recovery of business."
Successful recovery relies on these six principles:
- understanding the context
- recognising complexity
- using community-led approaches
- ensuring coordination of all activities
- employing effective communication
- acknowledging and building capacity.
The State Recovery Office is a unit of the Department of Human Services that:
- works across government and non-government sectors to increase the state's disaster recovery capacity and understanding
- supports the State Recovery Committee and State Recovery Coordinator (the Chief Executive of DHS)
- supports Zone (local) Emergency Management Committees.
During a disaster, the State Recovery Office:
- coordinates state level recovery functions
- provides management and administrative support to the State Recovery Committee
- advises and supports the State Recovery Coordinator / Assistant State Coordinator – Recovery
- supports and assists local recovery efforts.
More information about the State Recovery Office and other emergency management structures that have a role in recovery - Disaster Recovery: How it works in South Australia (PDF 1.0 MB)
Contact State Recovery Office
Phone 8415 4302
The Emergency Relief Functional Support Group identifies and coordinates the provision of practical advice and personal support services required by individuals, families and communities.
Housing SA, one of the divisions of DHS, is the lead agency for the Emergency Relief Functional Support Group. It may be supported by other agencies including Commonwealth Department for Human Services, Lions International, Disaster and Recovery Ministries, Rotary International, Australian Red Cross, Insurance Council of Australia, Uniting Communities and Foodbank.
Housing SA establishes relief and recovery centres to support the affected community towards management of its own recovery. Relief centres provide short-term shelter, information and personal support services such as food and temporary accommodation. Recovery centres provide affected people with information, financial assistance and referral to the wide range of recovery services. Other agencies contribute services such as basic first aid and interpreter services.
The Emergency Relief Functional Support Group also reaches out to the community through home visits and phone calls.
Contact Emergency Relief Functional Support Group
State Emergency Relief Fund (SERF)
Australians respond generously when disasters occur. Any money collected by the State Government in a public appeal for disaster relief must be paid into the State Emergency Relief Fund (SERF).
DHS provides administrative support to the SERF committee which manages this fund. The committee ensures appropriate and fair disbursement of publicly donated money.
Managing donated goods following a disaster
Money is the best donation but some people prefer to donate goods in an emergency. This takes time and resources away from the important work of helping those affected by disaster. Donated goods need to be transported, stored, sorted and distributed and unneeded or inappropriate goods disposed of.
The South Australian Government has appointed St Vincent de Paul Society to administer, manage and distribute clothing, furniture and household goods donated during and after a disaster.
DHS, with the support of National Emergency Management Project funding, has produced the following materials on managing donated goods after a disaster:
- Management of donated goods following a disaster (PDF 891.5 KB)
- National guidelines for managing donated goods following a disaster (PDF 1.3 MB)
- Tools to assist with managing donated goods following a disaster (DOC 244.5 KB).
People with vulnerabilities in disasters
The State Recovery Office, with funding from the Natural Disaster Resilience Grant Scheme, undertook a project to examine the issues of people with vulnerabilities in disasters. The project report includes vulnerability and hazard definitions, maps, statistics, research, services and findings.
Another product of the project is an interactive mapping application showing the numbers of people with different types of vulnerabilities within different areas and various hazard zones.
Please note that the report and interactive mapping application do not include mapping of extreme heat vulnerability. This work has been undertaken by the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility which has produced: A spatial vulnerability analysis of urban populations during extreme heat events in Australian capital cities.
Council disaster recovery planning
The State Recovery Office, with funding from the Local Government Association, produced the Disaster Recovery Guide for Councils. The guide helps councils to understand their role and contribution to disaster recovery and to develop their recovery plans and arrangements.
Reports on disaster recovery operations
State Emergency Management Plan (SEMP)
The State Emergency Management Plan (SEMP) outlines responsibilities, authorities and the mechanisms to prevent, or if they occur, manage and recover from, incidents and disasters within South Australia.
Emergency Management (SAFECOM site)
Information about Emergency Management in Australia and, in particular, South Australia.
National Emergency Management
National emergency management plans, programs and projects. A site of the Australian Government Attorney General's Department.
When Australians are affected by an offshore or onshore disaster this Australian Government website will have up to date public information messages, relevant free call numbers, information on Australian Government Assistance Packages and links to other relevant websites and information.
Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience (AIDR)
AIDR is a disaster resilience knowledge centre which coordinates and promotes the development, sharing and use of information for anyone working with, in, or affected by, disaster.