What is emergency relief? 

Emergency relief is the delivery of assistance to meet the basic and essential needs of individuals, families and communities during and in the immediate aftermath of an emergency. 

Emergency relief can be provided in a variety of settings including relief centres, community facilities and directly to communities or individuals who may be isolated or sheltering in place. 

During an emergency or in the immediate aftermath, relief includes: 

  • emergency shelter including temporary accommodation 
  • food and water to individuals 
  • reconnecting families and friends usually through the Register.Find.Reunite service 
  • disbursement of material aid (non-food items) eg bedding, clothing, personal necessities 
  • emergency financial assistance - administering emergency relief payments from the Personal Hardship Assistance Program 
  • food and grocery supply and logistics 
  • animal welfare – including companion animals, livestock and wildlife 
  • drinking water for households 
  • health care and medical assistance and first aid 
  • community information  
  • psychosocial support. 

What is recovery? 

Recovery refers to those programs that go beyond immediate relief to assist affected people to rebuild their homes, lives and services and to strengthen their capacity to cope with future disasters.

Recovery services support emergency-affected persons in the reconstruction of the physical infrastructure and restoration of emotional, social, economic and physical wellbeing (Australian Red Cross). 

Recovery is a partnership between the affected community, governments, non-government agencies and the private sector. Activities and services are being delivered through the five lines of recovery: 

  • People and Wellbeing - housing and accommodation, psycho-social support, individual and household financial assistance, health and medical assistance, community development 
  • Aboriginal culture and healing - cultural heritage and Aboriginal community support 
  • Environment and Biodiversity - biodiversity and wildlife, natural environment, land and waterways. 
  • Business and Economy - local economies, businesses, agriculture 
  • Buildings and Infrastructure - enabling planning and rebuilding, restoration and resilience of transport infrastructure, drinking water and sewerage, buildings and assets and fencing 

Further information about relief and recovery is available in Part 4 of the Emergency Management Manual Victoria (External link)