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A snapshot of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami: societal impacts and consequences

Havidan Rodriguez (Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, Disaster Research Center, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, USA)
Tricia Wachtendorf (Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, Disaster Research Center, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, USA)
James Kendra (Department of Public Administration, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, USA)
Joseph Trainor (Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, Disaster Research Center, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, USA)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 1 January 2006

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the societal impacts and consequences of the December 26, 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Design/methodology/approach

One month after the tsunami, a group of social science researchers from the Disaster Research Center, University of Delaware, and the Emergency Administration and Planning Program, University of North Texas, participated in an Earthquake Engineering Research Institute reconnaissance team, which traveled to some of the most affected areas in India and Sri Lanka. Data were obtained through informal interviews, participant observation, and systematic document gathering.

Findings

This research yielded important data and information on disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. A number of issues are identified that emerged from the field observations, including: tsunami education and awareness; the devastation and the loss; economic impact; mental health issues; irregularities and inequities in community based response and recovery efforts and in the distribution of disaster relief aid; gender and inequality; and relocation and housing issues.

Practical implications

The paper highlights the role and importance of generating integrated early warning systems and strategies aimed at fostering sustainable recovery and building disaster resilient communities.

Originality/value

An extensive amount of perishable data were collected thus providing a better understanding of the societal impacts of disasters on impoverished communities. A number of emerging issues are identified that should be of primary concern in efforts to protect populations residing in coastal regions throughout the world from similar catastrophes.

Keywords

Citation

Rodriguez, H., Wachtendorf, T., Kendra, J. and Trainor, J. (2006), "A snapshot of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami: societal impacts and consequences", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 163-177. https://doi.org/10.1108/09653560610654310

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited