Thematic Evaluation Report

Links between Relief, Rehabilitation and Development in the Tsunami Response

Linking relief, rehabilitation and development (LRRD) sounds straight forward; the tsunami experience has shown that it is not. Links must build on development trends underway before the disaster and must reflect the new 'rules of the game' that have appeared since.

This evaluation looks at how affected populations in Aceh (Indonesia) and Sri Lanka attempted to move from surviving on handouts from neighbours and aid agencies, to beginning to rebuild their lives. It also looks at the aid industry's efforts to help them in this process.

In the shift toward development the strategies of disaster-affected people and those of the aid agencies have diverged. Most aid actors have demonstrated a limited understanding of what kinds of interventions may eventually prove sustainable with respect to livelihoods, market relations, community development and natural resource management. There is therefore a risk that many rehabilitation efforts may prove ultimately ineffective and unsustainable.

Programming that genuinely links relief, rehabilitation and development is not a matter of agencies becoming better at 'doing livelihoods' or even building houses. It lies instead in deeper analysis of how 'our' meagre efforts can better contribute to supporting the 'LRRD projects' of disaster-affected populations, who get on with their lives regardless of international aid.