Opening of the Centre of Psychosocial support in Djalalabad after interethnic conflict in 2010. Photo: WHO

How does the UN define recovery?

United Nations International Strategy on Disaster Reduction defines recovery as “the restoration, and improvement where appropriate, of facilities, livelihoods and living conditions of disaster-affected communities, including efforts to reduce disaster risk factors”.

After a disaster, humanitarian action should concentrate on bringing essential life-lines to those in need – but it cannot stop there. Response activities should be supplemented from the start by well-informed efforts to identify key elements of social, economic and security systems, and to build them to working condition.

What is WHO’s role?

WHO/Europe’s activities in this area include:

  • building health system capacities, including family health, mental health, and emergency medical services;
  • establishing early warning systems for communicable diseases and natural disasters;
  • developing a health policy framework;
  • acting as a technical focal point for public health programmes.