Disaster Recovery Dilemas: Balancing Short-term and Long-term Needs for Vulnerability Reduction
Governments face tremendous pressure to quickly rebuid communities and reduce risk after disasters. The urgency to solve complex decisions can result in reactive policies that increase long-term vulnerability of affected communities. This article examines the aftermath of the Tsunami in Sri Lanka on December 26, 2004 as an example of hastily designed coastal buffer, massive relocation of affected people, and the resulting social, economic, and environmental problems that threaten the well-being of poor coastal communities. The timeline for this example is from the day the tsunami hit land until 10 months later. A framework is applied to conceptualize the components of vulnerability within Sri Lanka's coastal, human-environment system. The analysis shows where post-disaster policy should focus to reduce vulnerability.