The Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 highlighted glaring deficiencies in Sri Lanka’s institutionalized framework of disaster management, which the government had been developing since 1996. This report reviews disaster management in Sri Lanka before and after the tsunami and offers recommendations for reform. The study points to a need for clear lines of responsibility among various actors; greater support for community participation and bottom-up approaches; greater focus on disaster risk prevention; and attention to promoting gender equity and to meeting the needs of communities’ most vulnerable members.
In 2006, Oxfam commissioned the Swasti Health Resource Center in Bangalore, India, to study whether the 2004 tsunami and its aftermath increased vulnerability to HIV infection among affected residents of coastal India. Researchers found that such vulnerability did indeed increase in most of the 30 communities studied, primarily because the physical, social, and psychological conditions after the tsunami led to a significant increase in unprotected sex with non-regular sexual partners, especially among people living in temporary shelters. The research team recommends measures that government, local NGOs, and international aid groups can take to minimize the risk of HIV infection among displaced people after major disasters.
The 2004 tsunami had disastrous consequences for entire coastal regions bordering the Indian Ocean. Yet the tsunami’s impact on the affected populations varied according to their pre-disaster vulnerabilities. Specifically, gender roles contributed to the vulnerability of girls and women by limiting their social rights and access to resources. This study, which was conducted by researchers from the Anawim Trust in Tamil Nadu, India, documents ways in which 10 local Indian NGOs brought a gender dimension to their post-tsunami emergency and rehabilitation programs in the state of Tamil Nadu, and it offers recommendations to help local and international NGOs improve their gender mainstreaming efforts at both the programmatic and organizational levels.
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