chapter  2
Conflict, coastal vulnerability, and resiliency in tsunami-affected communities of Sri Lanka
ByRANDALL KUHN
Pages 24

What can a quantitative analysis of pre-and post-tsunami social indicators tell us about the broader regional and ethnic dimensions of the Sri Lankan tsunami recovery process? Recent years have seen a more systematic effort to quantify disasters, relief efforts, and paths to recovery. Indeed, when the humanitarian community set out to establish clear humanitarian guidelines and responsibilities under the Sphere Project and its Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response, a major element was the application of specific measurement criteria, evidence-based standards, and tools for evaluation of disaster relief efforts (Sphere 2004). Yet there remains a disconnection between the quantitative and qualitative approaches. Quantitative statistics are typically analyzed only at a very high level, which in Sri Lanka typically entails taking the district, with a population of around 300,000 people, as the primary unit of analysis. Qualitative needs assessments and ethnographies usually take the individual, family, or neighborhood as the unit of analysis and one or perhaps a small number of villages as the scale of analysis. Donor-driven ethnographies are typically aimed at understanding local needs or progress as representative of a larger context (for instance the district) rather than addressing differences between a number of localities. Furthermore, donor-driven analysis often focuses on local needs rather than on capabilities or resiliencies.