Community Based Planning in Post-Disaster Reconstruction:A Case Study of Tsunami Affected Fishing Communities in Tamil Nadu Coast of India
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In the past few years, natural disasters have been taking more lives and, especially more in the lesser-developed countries. There have been debates in the scientific world on what could be the best ways to mitigate disasters and reduce their impacts. In addition, there is a growing concern about finding the best way of restoring normal lives in the disaster affected communities. Traditional top-down approaches practiced by local governments, aid-agencies, and NGOs have now been replaced by community-based disaster management approaches. International aid-agencies such as the World Bank, UNDP, CIDA, USAID etc., emphasize on the involvement of the community for development purposes and long term sustainability. However, experiences from catastrophic disasters such as the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004 or the Hurricane Katrina of 2005 revealed post-disaster scenario to be chaotic and at times insensitive to local cultures and needs of victims. Literature review of past theories indicated the widening gap in disaster management approaches for establishing effective models to deal with recurrent mega-disasters. To address some of the gaps and issues related to disaster management strategies and approaches, an ongoing reconstruction process of the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004 was evaluated in the coastal regions of Tamil Nadu, India. Four underlying objectives were set. The first was to review the evolving disaster paradigm and related theories and concepts in literature and to build connections with planning models and community based planning. Gaps in the literature were identified and a ‘common framework’ to study both the domains of environmental planning and disaster management was designed. The ‘framework’ was designed using other interdisciplinary planning frameworks, and suffices the second objective of this dissertation. The third objective was to assess an ongoing reconstruction process using an appropriate methodology and suitable indicators. Environmental issues and disaster related problems have risen over the last decade with its effects worsening in the developing countries. Despite technological advancements, it seems almost impossible to make disaster related losses negligible. However, losses can be minimised with proper interventions and community preparedness. Case studies were carried out within disaster affected fishing communities in the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu, India.