Monday, March 26, 2007

Aftermath of Cataclysm: From Emergency to Recovery in Post-Tsunami Aceh, Indonesia

Based on his personal experience on the ground, speaker Dr. Eric Morris will analyze the successes and failures in managing this transition. He will examine issues of accountability, transparency, and equity.

On the morning of 26 December 2004, a massive earthquake and tsunami devastated coastal areas throughout the Indian Ocean region. Most damaged by far was the Indonesian province of Aceh. There, within 30 minutes, some 170,000 lives were lost. The international response was unprecedented. Governments, international agencies, and private citizens contributed massively to relief and reconstruction. The rest of the story is less well known: the difficult and critical transition from emergency aid to sustainable recovery. Based on his personal experience on the ground, speaker Dr. Eric Morris will analyze the successes and failures in managing this transition. He will examine issues of accountability, transparency, and equity. Particular attention will be paid to the convergence of tsunami recovery and conflict recovery in a province afflicted not only by a natural cataclysm but by thirty years of intermittent yet brutal conflict between the central government in Jakarta and the secessionist Free Aceh Movement.

Dr Morris, before his posting to Aceh, headed the New York Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from 2002 to 2005. In 2000-2001 he served simultaneously as special envoy in the Balkans of the High Commissioner for Refugees and as UN humanitarian coordinator for Kosovo. In 1998-99 he was deputy special representative of the secretary general for the UN Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He received his Ph.D from Cornell University, an MA from Yale University, and a BA from Baylor University.
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