Communities Many impact phase assessments apply also to the postimpact phase. Assessment needs to take account of the extent of destruction and loss, functioning of leaders, institutions and communication channels, caretaking for vulnerable groups, effectiveness of local groups, outside workers and further need for help. In addition, assessment includes how post-disaster euphoria (honeymoon period) and subsequent disillusionment are handled.
29 • Is the phase of generosity and mutuality facilitated adaptively and the state of subsequent disillusionment anticipated and mitigated? • How is the community dealing with new stresses? • How is the community accessing, rejecting and generally dealing with helper bureaucracies? Assessment includes the extent and nature of cohesion and disruption within and between old and new hierarchies, community groups and outside services. • Are information networks efficient or are rumours and misinformation rife? • What assistance can be given to facilitate communication of correct and credible information? • Is there high community morale with mutual goals and cooperation or low morale with tensions, envy and greed? • Are old tensions and conflicts being reactivated and even deepened? • What can facilitate the establishment of helpful cooperative networks? • How is the community assessing its losses, including of community symbols and icons? • Is there a need to facilitate public mourning ceremonies? •
How is the community apportioning blame and guilt, esteem and shame?
• Are individuals or groups being scapegoated? • What community values, symbols and identity beliefs have been enhanced or disrupted and what meanings are made of the events in relation to these values and views of self? • What information is available to provide understanding in terms of survival needs in the disaster context, of the multitude of biological, psychological and social responses and of judgements and meanings reverberating from the disaster? • Is there circulation of advice about the balance between containing emotions for continuing survival needs and needs to express them for the sake of coming to terms? • Are there warnings that as a result of strain and imbalance people should be wary of accidents, physical ailments, of not taking their regular medications, of anxieties and depressions, alcohol and drug abuse, marital problems and problems with children? • Is priority help reaching the most vulnerable and the worst affected? • Is the community adaptively accessing help and evolving new goals?