chapter  1
Building the conflict back better: the politics of tsunami relief and reconstruction in Sri Lanka
ByALAN KEENAN
Pages 23

The Indian Ocean tsunami burst onto a fractured and deeply divided political landscape in Sri Lanka. In the immediate wake of the disaster, people came together and cooperated across ethnic, regional, and political lines. Within weeks, however, old divisions reasserted themselves, fuelled by new resources and a new set of grievances. Efforts to respond to the disaster quickly met difficult political challenges that affected the quality and speed of assistance. This chapter, based in part on interviews with aid workers and international donor officials in February 2006, explores the political factors that complicated tsunami relief efforts. It also examines how various forms of aid delivery aggravated the political conflicts that have trapped Sri Lanka in civil war for more than 25 years.