Disaster Recovery Planning and Development

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Actions taken during the period following the emergency phase is often defined as the recovery phase, which encompasses both rehabilitation and reconstruction. The precise time when one phase ends and another starts will vary in each situation. Recovery refers to the actions taken in the aftermath of a disaster to enable basic services to resume functioning, assist victims’ self-help efforts to repair physical damage and community facilities, revive economic activities and provide support for rehabilitation including the psychological and social well being of the survivors. It focuses on enabling the affected population to resume more-or-less normal (pre-disaster) patterns of life with the added dimension of reducing risks and vulnerabilities that led to the disaster in the first place and avoid creating new ones. It may be considered as a transitional phase between immediate relief and return to more major, long-term development.

Many of the decisions and issues concerning recovery closely relate to emergency response, preparedness, mitigation and long-term development planning. Therefore, the course is designed to help students understand the linkages between the various stages of the disaster spectrum.

This course primarily refers to recovery after fast-onset disasters, such as earthquakes, landslides, high winds and flooding as well as major health issues and outbreak of epidemics. Recovery after drought introduces many factors, which are outside the scope of the course, since timing and actions needed in this context are significantly different. The course also touches on recovery after war or civil strife.

Deadline for applications: 1 September 2020
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This core course is part of the full Master of Disaster Management programme.


School of Global Health, University of Copenhagen.
The course takes place in Copenhagen, Denmark

Course leader

Assistant Professor Emmanuel Raju


This is a mandatory course in the Master of Disaster Management programme and an elective course on the MSc in Global Health. This course can also be taken as a stand-alone course. Information about fees and admission requirements below.


16 November - 11 December 2020

ECTS credits

7.5 ECTS



Learning outcomes


On completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Place recovery within the wider development processes.
  • Understand the purpose of recovery.
  • Understand definitions and terms related to recovery and early recovery.
  • Understand linkages between development and risk reduction in recovery processes.
  • Describe and operationalise Recovery Guiding Principles.
  • Outline key factors, benefits, barriers, strategies and activities for integrating disaster risk reduction in recovery.
  • Understand tools, mechanisms and key relationships in pre-disaster recovery planning.


On completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Research into the issues of pre-disaster recovery planning and recovery implementation.
  • Apply concepts, standards, principles, and methods of recovery planning and operations to case studies.
  • Acquire the conceptual basis to appreciate the complexity of the recovery environment.
  • Develop a better ability to engage with and relate to disaster professionals – across sectors and disciplines and work collaboratively in a field situation through understanding some of the operational procedures in recovery related to international actors and national governments.
  • Develop a Recovery Framework and Plan for a specific case study.
  • Critically evaluate the strengths and limitations of the existing Early Recovery and Recovery mechanisms.


On completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Apply tools used for teambuilding and stress management and demonstrate knowledge about intercultural and interdisciplinary communication.
  • Identify and formulate a relevant and current research question and develop a vulnerability profile for a case study assignment.
  • Work independently in self-directed study.
  • Work in a group – teamwork and presentation.
  • Engage in dialogue and discussions, and argue a case.
  • Negotiation, including compromise, argument and trade offs.
  • Read and critique literature


The main content areas are:

  • Introduction to recovery principles and risk reduction in the recovery phase.
  • Pre-disaster recovery planning and post disaster recovery needs assessment.
  • Early recovery as an important linking stage between relief and response phase and recovery and development.
  • Reconstruction and physical rehabilitation
  • Psycho-social and mental health interventions
  • Exit and hand over strategies in recovery planning

Teaching and learning methods

There will be a variety of teaching/learning methods on the module ranging from lectures, to video screening followed by open discussions and to student led presentations.

The teaching/learning methods could be listed as follows:

  • Lectures - Imparting knowledge, concepts, theories and models
  • Exercises – Inquiry or skills based with emphasis on analytical skills and problem solving
  • Case Study Analysis – Review of previous practice and guided analysis of specific aspects of a case
  • Videos – Guided with a set of questions or an exercise that follows
  • Seminars – Self-directed by students and guided and mentored by tutors
  • Presentations – of group assignments and feedback by a panel of tutors

Assessment Procedures:

Written assignment, throughout the course. 
Evaluation: Danish 7-point grading scale. External moderation.


  • Reduced fee: 22,000 DKK - For students from EU/EEA or Switzerland.
  • Normal fee: 30,000 DKK - For all other students.

For approximate exchange rates between DKK (Danish Krone) and other currencies please contact your bank or visit this website. All fees are subject to regulation.


We do not offer any scholarships, nor can we assist in finding funding, but on our page about scholarships we have collected some information that might be useful.