The Asian Tsunami

The Asian Tsunami

Aid and Reconstruction after a Disaster

ADBI series on Asian Economic Integration and Cooperation

Sisira Jayasuriya and Peter McCawley

The 2004 Asian tsunami was the greatest natural disaster in recent times. Almost 230 000 people died. In response, governments in Asia and the broader international community announced large aid programs. The resulting assistance effort was one of the largest humanitarian programs ever organized in the developing world. This book discusses the lessons of the aid effort for disaster protection policy in developing countries.

Chapter 3: The matter of money

Sisira Jayasuriya and Peter McCawley

Subjects: development studies, development economics, economics and finance, development economics, environment, disasters, politics and public policy, international politics


INTRODUCTION This chapter considers matters relating to the financial flows associated with the Asian tsunami. Some main issues concerning both the revenue and expenditure sides of the financial flows are discussed. There is little in this chapter that will surprise those with experience in the delivery of disaster relief in developing countries. It is in the nature of large-scale disaster-related emergencies in developing countries that coordination is difficult. However, the efficient management of financial flows is a key part of any effective response. In the midst of disasters, it is often difficult to manage financial issues well. Former US president Bill Clinton in his capacity as UN Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery summed up some of the key problems when he said (Clinton 2006: 13): Tracking financial flows in recovery efforts is notoriously difficult, largely because most financial reporting is voluntary and funding comes from many sources. The tsunami experience has not been different in this regard. In Thailand, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Aceh, governments established aid management platforms to provide an online vehicle for a comprehensive inventory of projects, financial commitments, and disbursements. In general, such databases could play a crucial role in filling the longstanding gap on accurate financial tracking, but to do so, they need to come online very early in a recovery effort, enjoy wide support from all the organizations involved in the effort, and be tied more directly to the needs . . . Against this background, the central questions addressed in this chapter are, in principle, relatively...

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