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Disaster, Generosity and Recovery: Indian Ocean Tsunami


  • Prema-chandra Athukorala


This paper is an exploratory investigation into the nature and effectiveness of international humanitarian aid effort after the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster. Relief assistance poured in quickly and copiously, and helped avert 'second mortality' from exposure and starvation in the tsunami-affected countries. Foreign aid also provided a vital leeway in the reconstruction phase, but limited aid absorptive capacity of the recipient countries and excessive competition among aid organizations (mostly NGOs) hindered effective aid utilization. The findings make a strong case for designing policies and programs for dealing with disasters as an integral part of national development strategies and highlight the need for combining international aid commitments with solutions to the limited aid absorptive capacity of disaster-affected countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Prema-chandra Athukorala, 2012. "Disaster, Generosity and Recovery: Indian Ocean Tsunami," Departmental Working Papers 2012-04, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:pas:papers:2012-04

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David Strömberg, 2007. "Natural Disasters, Economic Development, and Humanitarian Aid," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 199-222, Summer.
    2. J. Vernon Henderson & Yong Suk Lee, 2015. "Organization of Disaster Aid Delivery: Spending Your Donations," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63(4), pages 617-664.
    3. Thomas Eisensee & David Strömberg, 2007. "News Droughts, News Floods, and U. S. Disaster Relief," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(2), pages 693-728.
    4. Eduardo Cavallo & Ilan Noy, 2009. "The Economics of Natural Disasters: A Survey," Research Department Publications 4649, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    5. Kunal Sen & Liesbet Steer, 2005. "Survey of recent developments," Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(3), pages 279-304.
    6. Prema-chandra Athukorala & Budy P. Resosudarmo, 2005. "The Indian Ocean Tsunami: Economic Impact, Disaster Management and Lessons," Departmental Working Papers 2005-05, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
    7. Thévenaz, Céline & Resodihardjo, Sandra L., 2010. "All the best laid plans...conditions impeding proper emergency response," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(1), pages 7-21, July.
    8. Jagdish N. Bhagwati, 2004. "In Defense of Globalization: It Has a Human Face," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 94(6), pages 9-20, November-.
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    More about this item


    tsunami; natural disasters; foreign aid;

    JEL classification:

    • F35 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Aid
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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