Towards a Model of Constructive Interaction between Aid Donors and Recipients in a Disaster Context: The Case of Lampuuk
The 2004 tsunami that struck the Indonesian province of Aceh was covered heavily by the world media, and today remains an example of the damage nature can inflict on human settlements. The devastation left behind in the wake of the tsunami was particularly severe in Lampuuk, a settlement like many others in Aceh. While the initial devastating impact of the tsunami on Lampuuk did not differ much from the fate suffered by many of its neighbours, as well as other villages across the region, the settlement’s recovery and the process by which it was rebuilt in the aftermath of the disaster has distinguished it as an example of a successful reconstruction, based to a large extent on an effective aid donor-recipient relationship. The settlement of Lampuuk is located about 20km southwest of Banda
Aceh, with a population of around 6000. Prior to the tsunami, the settlement did not merit special attention and did not stand out from thousands of others in Aceh. After the tsunami, however, all that remained of Lampuuk was the local mosque and about 1000 of its original inhabitants. The site quickly became a photo opportunity for high-profile visitors to the disaster zone, with former US presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush touring the site on 20 February 2005. Half a million US dollars was quickly allocated to the settlement by the Clinton-Bush Tsunami Fund. In response, its two main streets were renamed for the two presidents. Following the initial interest in the settlement, the residents of Lampuuk
were still left with the challenge of rebuilding houses and infrastructure destroyed by the flood waters. Not surprisingly, the local organization that
was quickly formed to coordinate the rebuilding effort received a number of offers of aid. Oxfam, for example, undertook to repair water systems to the settlement. Several aid donors were prepared to assist with housing. One of these, and the agency whose offer was eventually accepted, was the Turkish Red Crescent. This chapter describes the process by which the residents of Lampuuk
negotiated with the Turkish Red Crescent and which led eventually to the rebuilding of houses for the surviving inhabitants of the settlement. It is a somewhat unusual story in that the recipients of this aid were heavily involved in the process and were very satisfied with the results. Irrespective of any other achievement, this outcome is an important one and suggests that the experience of Lampuuk might serve as a model for cooperation between aid donors and recipients and, as such, may provide valuable insight for future endeavours.