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, 31 (1), 1-28

The International Humanitarian System and the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunamis

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The International Humanitarian System and the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunamis

John Telford et al. Disasters.

Abstract

The December 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunamis were an exceptional event. So too was the scale of the response, particularly the level of international funding. Unprecedented donations meant that for once, an international emergency response was largely free of financial constraints. This removal of the funding constraint facilitated observation of the capacity and quality of international disaster aid. The Tsunami Evaluation Coalition conducted five independent thematic assessments in 2005-an impact study was planned, but never implemented. The five evaluations were supported by 44 sub-studies. Based on this work, this paper compares international disaster response objectives, principles and standards with actual performance. It reaches conclusions on four salient aspects: funding; capacity and quality; recovery; and ownership. It ends by proposing a fundamental reorientation of international disaster response approaches that would root them in concepts of sustainable disaster risk reduction and recovery, based on local and national ownership of these processes.

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