From the Ground Up: Perspectives on Post-Tsunami and Post-Conflict Aceh
The tsunami that struck a dozen countries around the Indian Ocean on 26 December 2004 evoked international sympathy on a scale beyond any previous natural disaster. The international relief effort broke all records both in scale and diversity, with seven billion U.S. dollars donated from all over the world through public and private agencies for Sumatra alone. Simply as a reconstruction effort, therefore, the disbursement of those funds and the rebuilding of housing, infrastructure, and economy posed major national and international challenges. However this was not simply a reconstruction effort. Aceh at that time was a war zone, with Indonesia’s military engaged in a major operation to crush a separatist rebellion that had been simmering since 1976. Even though the funds had been donated for tsunami relief, any real reconstruction of Aceh had to consider the impact of the conflict on the well-being of the population, as well as governance and administrative capacities. This volumes serves the purpose not only of discussing some of the lessons of the Aceh reconstruction and peace processes, but also of maintaining critical links between Aceh and the international community after the initial tranches of aid expire.
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