Evaluations of post-disaster recovery: A review of practice material

This systematic evidence review of post-disaster recovery efforts, published by the journal Evidence Base (ANZSOG), identifies useful case studies and methods and aims to inform the development of a national post-disaster evaluation framework.

This resource and the following information was contributed to BetterEvaluation by Sophie Yates, ANZSOG.

Authors and their affiliation

Professor Roberta Ryan, University of Technology Sydney
Dr Liana Wortley, University of Technology Sydney
Dr Éidín Ní Shé, University of Technology Sydney

Year of publication


Type of resource

Discussion paper

Key features

While there is significant investment in post-disaster recovery programs, there is little known of their effectiveness. This paper reviews evaluations of post-disaster recovery efforts.

The focus is on operational material and other ‘grey literature’, and finds a lack of evaluation of post-disaster recovery. Where evaluations have been conducted, they are mostly process- rather than outcomes-based.

There is a need for guidance for post-disaster recovery programs to support evaluation practice to determine the effectiveness, efficiency and appropriateness of post-disaster recovery interventions.

This review identifies useful case studies and methods to evaluate post-disaster recovery efforts, and informs the development of a national post-disaster evaluation framework.

Who is this resource useful for?

  • Advocates for evaluation;

  • Commissioners/managers of evaluation;

  • Those involved in evaluation capacity strengthening;

How have you used or intend on using this resource?

I have not personally used this resource, but it is intended to be a thought-provoking challenge to government evaluators and decision-makers to re-examine the way they approach disaster recovery evaluation. It would be a great starting point for policy agencies considering whether or how to implement a national post-disaster recovery evaluation framework.

Why would you recommend it to other people?

It is an excellent systematic review of evaluation efforts, showing the shortcomings of post-disaster evaluations in Australia, New Zealand and worldwide. It shows that our focus on evaluating immediate disaster relief is short-sighted, and we need to pay more attention to evaluating the effectiveness of long-term recovery programs that can cost billions of dollars.


Ryan, R., Wortley, L and Ní Shé, É. (2016) 'Evaluations of post-disaster recovery: A review of practice material'. Evidence Base, 1 (4):1-33. Retrieved from: https://www.anzsog.edu.au/resource-library/research/evaluations-of-post-...