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By : Ben Wisner , Peter Walker

The massive human and economic impact of the Asian tsunami in later 2004 is mirrored in the aftershocks felt among humanitarian organisations, development agencies, and policy makers. This paper raises a number of these troubling, fundamental issues. Firstly, the call for an Indian Ocean tsunami warning system raises fundamental issues about what warning systems can, and cannot, do. Secondly, one is also forced to consider why in the first place so many people live on exposed coasts today, vulnerable not only to tsunamis but tropical storms and rainy season flooding among other hazards. Thirdly, one is challenged to question the very meaning of "recovery". Such massive damage has been done and so many people and their livelihoods have been dislocated, is it actually possible to imagine a return to the status quo ante? Fourthly, reconstruction of the magnitude now underway in the affected areas raises many difficult questions about accountability, transparency, and the unevenness with which the international community responds to crises. The paper finishes with some recommendations.
Keywords : Migration, Livelihood, Civil Society, Accountability, Governance

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