In the immediate wake of a natural disaster, the traumatized population faces a variety of problems: Houses, infrastructure, crops and communication systems are often destroyed. The people lack access to clean water, food, sanitation, and information. Due to death and displacement their social networks no longer function, which can hinder the rebuilding process. Additionally, an increase of diseases can be expected. “Natural disasters pose a significant threat to livelihoods in many parts of the world, often leaving long-term damage and poverty in their wake (Ritchie, 2009). They pose a significant threat to tourism infrastructure, development and marketing (…).
However, as Faulkner (2001) and Laws et al. (2007) point out, crises and disasters can sometimes have potential positive changes, quite apart from the negative impacts – as transformations evolving from events can create innovations or new markets. Thus, for example, developing ecotourism can bring economic benefits after a crisis event. (…) Indeed, in examining pro-poor tourism, Scheyvens (2002) has highlighted its potential for tourism development to contribute to recovery strategies, following major earthquakes, particularly in rural areas that may be overlooked in the effort to rebuild urban centers” (Wang & Cater, 2015, p.209). Portaluppi et al. (2011, p.11) agree that “Disasters can turn into opportunities for sustainable development. In this perspective, recovery must go beyond replacing or repairing the affected infrastructure, and work on the factors that contribute to unsustainability and risk. While responding to the most urgent needs of the affected population, one must take advantage of all opportunities for change to achieve the sustainability of the recovery efforts, and set the foundations for new development”.
Since every disaster is different, it is difficult to say how long it will take for a disaster area to recover. However, the following table gives information about the approximate time frame and tasks involved that characterize the different phases of a disaster.