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 4: Indonesia: the first two years after the tsunami

Sisira Jayasuriya and Peter McCawley

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

Extract

1 INTRODUCTION Indonesia, the country worst hit by the December 2004 tsunami, is located in the ‘Ring of Fire’ which consists of volcanic arcs and oceanic trenches partly encircling the Pacific Basin. The Basin sits between the IndoAustralian and Eurasian plates, making it a zone of frequent volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. Historically, several of the natural disasters that have occurred in Indonesia have been among the worst in the world. The Tambora and Krakatoa eruptions in 1815 and 1883 were among the largest eruptions in history. Further, the contour and climate of the archipelago increase the likelihood of other deadly natural disasters such as cyclones, droughts, and floods. From 1907 to mid-2006 there were 338 natural disasters in Indonesia – an average of around three to four disasters per year.2 On average, approximately 700 people died, 1200 were injured, 5200 became homeless, and 64 000 people were affected per event.3 Indonesia is considered to be among the five countries that most frequently experience deadly natural disasters – the others being the US, the People’s Republic of China, India, and the Philippines. Recent data suggests that the frequency of these deadly events may be increasing in these countries (Figure 4.1). In terms of human fatalities the tsunami on 26 December 2004 was the worst natural disaster in Indonesian history. Most people in Aceh and North Sumatra and other nearby parts of Indonesia felt the tremor caused by a massive earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale that occurred beneath the seabed about 300...

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