Addressing the Needs of Disaster Survivors: Does Their Voice Matter?
Publication Type:Journal Article
Source:International Journal of Social Work and Human Services Practice, Horizon Research Publishing, USA, Volume 2, Number 1, p.43–49 (2014)
The last eight years have witnessed the development of a range of disaster management programs both short and long term directed at addressing the needs of the tsunami survivors in the various states of India including Kerala, Tamilnadu, Pondicherry, Andhra Pradesh, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Even though professionals are in accord that these programs were relatively successful in addressing the vital needs of survivors such as food, shelter, health, and mental health; they are equivocal in their opinion regarding the effectiveness of these programs in empowering the affected community. The purpose of the present paper is twofold. First, we discuss the results of a qualitative research aimed at understanding the perceptions of nine tsunami survivors from Alappad, Kerala on their needs and effectiveness of disaster services following the tsunami of 2004. As well as revealing where some of the early disaster interventions went wrong, the findings also show some pressing needs of the survivors which still remain unattended. Second, drew from our experience in working with tsunami survivors in Alappad and from a comprehensive review of studies conducted among tsunami survivors in India, we argue for more robust disaster preparedness and mitigation programs targeting vulnerable groups such as children, women, and elderly.
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