Tsunami 2004: A Comprehensive Analysis
Research in emergencies has always been a debatable issue. How can one engage in research when the priorities are basic needs for living and survival? Even with resources available and with capacities in place, research and even basic information management always takes a backseat. Indeed, the earthquakes and tsunami of 26 December 2004 were too huge an event to even think of undertaking some form of research, information collection in real time. But within six months of the disaster, WHO-SEARO started thinking of this and developed several publications. As some of the early documents were being completed and disseminated, it was clear that a more comprehensive technical review was needed. Efforts in planning for a publication such as this were initiated and, in the end, a comprehensive, multi-sectoral restrospective study was conducted. This book is the output of that work. The challenge was and remains that a lot of the evidence available for emergencies are in different places: peer reviewed journals, unpublished reports; and media coverage. All this raises two fundamental issues 1) information is not available in one source and 2) information is not analyzed through a particular methodology. This book tries to do both. In essence, it includes the valuable inputs of peer reviewed, published materials and those that are unpublished or non-peer reviewed in order to get a better picture of the events and the actions taken for it. In simpler words, the book is a documentation of evidence behind the events, the actions and their impact. This pioneering initiative has been done to the efforts of those who worked during the tsunami and, more importantly, those who suffered its impact. With the thought that many would not have suffered in vain or those who have worked tirelesly may have planted seed for better practice in the future, it is hoped that this book will, not be just an academic exercise but knowledge that will be used to benefit people. As it contains evidence for better preparedness and risk reduction, it is hoped that it will help to strengthen national capacities, through resilient and better informed communities.