Post-Tsunami Aid In Sri Lanka: Insights From The Inside

Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Paul Ventura


An incredible outpouring of aid arrived to countries in Southeast Asia affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. I became interested in how relief agencies distribute aid after a natural disaster of this magnitude. I realized that I also wanted to learn how tsunami-affected communities were involved in the process of aid that was given to them, especially in the needs assessment processes that were conducted in their communities by relief agencies. Therefore, this inquiry set out to gain insight into perceptions of key stakeholders on how aid was distributed after the Indian Ocean tsunami. I decided to explore this question by focusing on beneficiaries of post-tsunami houses. Interviews were carried out in two tsunami-affected villages: Panama and Brahmanawatta South, Sri Lanka. One-to-one interviews were conducted with community members, leaders, and representatives of organizations that implemented post-tsunami housing projects. Based on the findings from my research in Panama and Brahmanawatta South, Sri Lanka, it seems that that little or no needs assessment processes were carried out by housing organizations; minimal communication occurred between relief agencies and beneficiaries prior to construction of post-tsunami houses; an unequal distribution of aid took place; and there was insufficient coordination among relief agencies, community members, and leaders. It is hoped that this inquiry will serve as a reminder of the importance of involving beneficiaries in all stages of relief efforts after a natural disaster, and of the consequences of not carrying out a comprehensive needs assessment prior to providing aid.


Public Administration | Social Welfare

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