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Where did we go?

This mural is found in the Moken village museum, and illustrates what happened. The museum is used as a source of income for the village. In pure numbers Thailand was the least affected region we visited from the 2004 Tsunami. More foreigners lost their lives in this region, because of tourism, such as Puket Island. The invisible disaster, however, is the constant war that has claimed more lives than the Tsunami has in this region.

This boat drifted two miles inland saving more than one hundred lives, however smashing the house beneath it. The Tsunami of 2004 killed approximately 130,000+ people and displaced approximately 400,000 people in the Indonesian region. Banda Aceh was the most affected of all Indonesia and subsequently was the least helped until the Memorandum of Understanding was signed and help was able to reach that part of the region. Prior to that more than 15,000 lives were lost and tens of thousands displaced created by a constant war led by the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and the Government.

The owner of this house posted a do not demolish sign on his house. New Orleans one of many cities affected by Hurricane Katrina in 2005; being the most publicized it was one of the most highly devastated areas in terms of displacement. This disaster was highly criticized for the lack of response and many argue that many lives could have been saved pre/post the disaster. Hidden under all the rubble was what many call purposeful displacement.

A kid walking to his house on top of a water line headed to the city. Dharavi is one of Asia’s biggest slums, with approximately one million inhabitants in a 550 acre site. The living conditions aside from dangerous/deadly sanitary conditions, is one unlike any other slum. The hidden disaster is how the private market and future plans for the heart of Mumbai is to make Dharavi a settlement of the past.

This train in Sri Lanka was derailed while the Tsunami approached and many lives were taken, here the train still lies. Sri Lanka was the second most devastated country in terms of lives and displacement, it actually had as much displaced compared to Indonesia. However, it also is a country silently dealing with a war that has been going on for as long as 25 years between the government and the Tamil Tigers. 70,000 people have been killed since the conflict has started, which is more than three times of those killed in the Tsunami.

“Our roles changed from professionals to facilitators to motivators, in a culture-sensitive environment.”

“CapAsia brings to light the question of our role as planners and professionals in the disaster response, reconstruction, and recovery process of people that we serve.”

This is one of many dead hallways inside an eight story building proposed to house many people in Dharavi, an effort pushed by Mukesh Meta to move people from slums to “public housing.” It is what many countries have done and failed. According to Jokin, an adversary to this plan, states “the city and private developers cannot and will not succeed to move us out because we are happy where we are at.

On our first site tour of five villages in Sri Lanka we visited Tangalle. Many were eager to learn and dialogue with the villagers and fisherman. They had spoken of NGOs coming to provide money for their shacks and boats, the problem is the fishing business has not been the same since the Tsunami, and many are finding it hard to provide for their families. That and the addition to now commuting from their village has become a constant cost and inconvenience, especially now that many need to fish at irregular times to make enough money.

The Aceh people’s Forum invited us to discuss our views and findings along with other people in the organization to discuss possible solutions. They gave us an idea of what this group is doing to solve the housing crisis in Aceh. During our visit to Banda Aceh many of the GAM rebels we had heard about were actually part of a larger plan to resolve and plan for future disasters in a macro/micro level. They have teamed up with various NGOs in hope that there message far reaches the borders of their city.

“While we learned about them, we learned more about ourselves.”

One of the most successful examples of reintegration of people in new villages was found in the King’s village in Thailand, where the houses provided were being retrofitted by the families living in them. More than 80% of the houses had been modified in some way. In general with the help of CODI and organizations that used the bottom up approached used in advocacy planning, Thailand had the most comprehensive housing schemes approved by the people.

APA Poster 2  

Three posters presented at the APA convention in Minneapolis in 2009.