The Asian Tsunami: A Case Study of Habitat for Humanity’s Disaster Response Program


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate how Habitat for Humanity International Disaster Response Program developed and implemented their reconstruction effort in the village of Tha Chat Chat using a development paradigm of “community-based disaster response model which enlists the participation of affected families and leaders in the community in which they live.”

Methodology/Approach: The approach for this paper is a case study of Habitat for Humanity’s disaster response effort in a small fishing village beginning at seven months after the Asian tsunami. The methods used to support the research were participant observation of a production and construction site, structured interviews of key players in the relief effort and review of Habitats literature.

Conclusions: Habitat for Humanity was able to successfully accomplish their development efforts by completing what they had set out to complete in TCC, that of constructing 100 houses in two different phases and then transitioning the project into their traditional housing model. However, in doing so, they did not use a community based model of development from its inception to the final phase. Without fully training community members from the inception of the project, they created conflicts in the community and turned a decent project into a disaster. This project also showed that relief can lead to development but only if done correctly and with long term goals in mind. The long term goals need to include the help and participation of the people in the community as well as determining what assets they have that will help them thrive.

Applicability: Participation from different levels needs to happen in order to create an effective program. Additionally, both staff and community members need to be fully trained by the aid organization in order for the project to be truly successful.


Growth and Development | Social Welfare | Work, Economy and Organizations

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