Because recovery is a constantly changing process, it is untidy and unpredictable. It is difficult to adapt and to plan and the usual rules and processes often do not fit. Despite hard work to create solutions and responses to community needs, what works today probably won't work tomorrow.

There is more unknown in recovery than known. The end goal and how to get there are so unclear. Even with heartfelt commitment to support those in recovering communities, there is so much uncertainty as to how to go about it. Add to this the fact that the vast majority of people (and organisations) with a role to play in recovery have not experienced or worked in disaster recovery before. More than one person likened the experience of learning about disaster recovery, working out what to do and creating structures and processes as you are actually doing it, to the notion of having to build a plane while you are flying it.

Dr Rob Gordon talks about uncertainty and novelty being two of the most powerful sources of stress—in recovery you have bucket loads of both.

We don't know how things are going to play out. We don't even know what the end game is. We don't know how to define what recovery is or know when it has occurred. John Richardson - Australian Red Cross

At the time of the disaster it was all new and the first time to experience it. Well it has been three years and everything that has occurred since has been a continuation of first time experiences. Takahiro Ito - Fukkou University Alliance