Recovering from a natural or man-made disaster such as a flood or a terrorist attack is a major undertaking for any community or region. This is especially true in developing regions where response capabilities and infrastructures are often not up to par. As a result, disaster recovery is typically a slow and difficult process. The EU-funded project COBACORE (Community based comprehensive recovery) worked on solutions to bring different community stakeholders together for more efficient recovery after a disaster. More specifically, the project built upon the community as a pivotal source of capabilities and data to improve disaster response by bridging collaboration and information sharing gaps. It focused on three main stakeholder groups, namely affected citizens, professional responders and responding communities, such as volunteer groups. Important gaps that were identified include suboptimal capacity matching, ineffective use of volunteers and limited awareness of an affected community's immediate needs. In this context, the project team elaborated strategies to close the collaboration gaps through a web-based platform that was vigorously tested to ensure that it can achieve its aims. The platform is meant to address needs and capacities during a disaster, such as accommodation, health, food, transport and security. The platform’s features were conceived through many consultation sessions with national stakeholders and prospective professional and civilian end-users. The platform was further refined through large scale exercises in the Netherlands and Germany where stakeholders and end-users were put into a realistic disaster recovery scenario and used the platform to match needs with capacities. The COBACORE collaboration concept and platform offers a solid basis for further exploitation in Europe and beyond. It holds the promise to significantly boost the capacity of communities to recovery from disaster and help restore the safety, security and livelihood of stricken societies.
Disaster, community, COBACORE, recovery response, security