Hettige, Siri and Haigh, Richard (2016) An integrated social response to disasters: the case of the Indian Ocean Tsunami in Sri Lanka. Disaster Prevention and Management, 25 (5). pp. 595-610. ISSN 0965-3562

The impact of natural disasters on people in affected communities is mediated by a whole range of circumstances such as the intensity of the disaster, type and nature of the community affected and the nature of loss and displacement. The main purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the need to adopt a holistic or integrated approach to assessment of the process of disaster recovery, and to develop a multidimensional assessment framework.

The study on which the paper is based was designed as a novel qualitative assessment of the recovery process using qualitative data collection techniques from a sample of communities affected by the Indian Ocean Tsunami in eastern and southern Sri Lanka.

The key finding of the study is that the outcome of the interventions has varied widely depending on such factors as the nature of the community, nature of the intervention and mode of delivery of donor support. The surveyed communities are ranked in terms of the nature and extent of recovery.

The approach adopted is new to post disaster recovery assessments and is useful for monitoring and evaluation of recovery processes. It also fits into the social accountability model as the assessment is based on community experience with the recovery process.

Practical implications:
The indices of recovery developed constitute a convenient tool of measurement of effectiveness and limitations of external interventions. The assessment used is multidimensional and socially inclusive.

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