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Built back better? Housing reconstruction after the Tsunami disaster of 2004 in Aceh

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Abstract The Tsunami disaster on the morning of December 26th, 2004 caused thousands of casualties and created enormous destruction in the twelve affected countries around the Indian Ocean. The hardest hit region was the conflict ridden province of Aceh in Indonesia, with an estimated 165,000 people dead or missing and around 15 percent of the surviving population made homeless (see BRR 2005). The Tsunami catastrophe was followed by — at least for developing countries — an unprecedented scale of relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction operations. A multitude of actors from all over the world took action in the affected areas and contributed to the rebuilding of the devastated areas, following a “build back better” policy. In the light of the huge number of people made homeless, one of the most prominent aspects of the reconstruction process was housing, where about 130,000 reconstruction homes were built in Aceh alone after the disaster (see UNORC-IAS 2009). This paper discusses the housing reconstruction approach based on a case study in a Tsunami affected village on the north-east coast of Aceh. In conclusion this case demonstrates the benefits of more participation in reconstruction.

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