December 2004, a tsunami swept over the coasts of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, and other South Asian countries, leaving hundreds of thousands dead and many more without the resources to rebuild their lives. With casualties as far away as Africa, the aftermath was overwhelming: ships could be spotted miles inland; cars floated in the ocean; legions of the unidentified dead—an estimated 225,000—were buried in mass graves; relief organizations struggled to reach rural areas and provide adequate aid to survivors. The Indian Ocean Tsunami: The Global Response to a Natural Disaster is the first comprehensive assessment of the environmental, social, and economic costs of this tragedy.
Soon after the tsunami, an international team of geographers, geologists, anthropologists, and political scientists traveled to the most damaged areas to observe and document the tsunami's impact. The Indian Ocean Tsunami draws on data collected by this team. Editors Pradyumna P. Karan and Shanmugam P. Subbiah, along with contributors from multiple disciplines, examine numerous issues that arose in the aftermath of the tsunami, such as inequities in response efforts, unequal distribution of disaster relief aid, and relocation and housing problems.
The Indian Ocean Tsunami is organized into several sections, the first of which deals with the ecological destruction of the tsunami. It includes case studies and photographs of the damage in Japan, Indonesia, South India, and other areas. The second section analyzes the economic and social aspects of the aid responses, specifically discussing the role of NGOs in tsunami relief, the strengths and weaknesses of the reconstruction process, and the lessons the tsunami offers to those who are responsible for dealing with future disasters.
In the tsunami's aftermath, the inadequacies of governmental and privately funded aid and the challenge of rehabilitating devastated ecosystems quickly became apparent. With this volume, Karan and Suhbiah illuminate the need for the development of efficient, socially and environmentally sustainable practices to cope with environmental disasters. They suggest that education about the ongoing process of recovery will mitigate the effects of future natural disasters. Including maps, photographs, and statistical analyses, The Indian Ocean Tsunami is a clear and definitive evaluation of the tsunami's impact and the world's response to it.
""A compelling story of one of the major natural disasters of the twenty-first century." -- Ramesh C. Dhussa, Drake University" --
"Provides an assessment of what went right-- and what didn't-- with the mammoth aid and reconstruction effort." -- The Hindu
"Presents a very interesting array of snapshots.... The editors have highlighted several lessons that may be useful in circumstances arising from disasters that are similar in abstract ways." -- Choice
"A very comprehensive overview of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.... this book offers an important contribution to our understanding of the event." -- Crisis Response Journal