The Impact of a Disaster on Life in Sumatra: Evidence from Before and After the December 26 Tsunami

Elizabeth Frankenberg, University of California, Los Angeles
Jed Friedman, World Bank Group
Nick Ingwersen, University of California, Los Angeles
Jenna Nobles, University of California, Los Angeles
Fadia Saadah, World Bank Group
Wayan Suriastini, SurveyMETER
Cecep S Sumantri, SurveyMETER

On December 26, 2004 the Indonesian province of Aceh was struck by a tsunami that caused unparalleled devastation. This paper documents the costs to individuals, families, and communities, and describes the ways in which they reconstruct their lives and livelihoods in the aftermath of the disaster. We draw on data from a project that interviewed, in 2005, a subset of households first interviewed in 2004 as part of a large-scale cross-sectional survey. Our focus is on households in communities that sustained damage from the tsunami, but we also conduct interviews with a group of comparison households living inland and further south. Our results confirm the tsunami’s terrible toll with respect to mortality, the trauma experienced by those who lived through it, and the myriad ways in which it has disrupted people’s lives.

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Presented in Session 9: Demographic Consequences of Shocks and Natural Disasters