The state and civil society in disaster response: Post-tsunami experiences in Tamil Nadu

Krithika Srinivasan, Vijay Kumar Nagaraj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper, based on the report “The State and Civil Society in Disaster Response: An Analysis of the Tamil Nadu Tsunami Experience,” (Srinivasan, Nagaraj, & Venkatesh, 2005) is essentially an empirical analysis of state and civil society responses in Tamil Nadu (India) to the tsunami of December 26, 2004. It examines interventions by state and non-state agencies, as well as people’s experiences in the relief and rehabilitation phases to identify factors influencing both positive and negative outcomes of the tsunami response. Issues related to vulnerability and exclusion, equity, transparency and accountability in different sectors of disaster intervention are explored to highlight themes revolving around reach and efficacy of relief and recovery processes. These analyses bring out some interesting lessons with regard to the importance of institutional autonomy, non-politicized decision-making and synergetic state-civil society interfaces in fostering inclusive, transparent and accountable rehabilitation processes. The roles played by institutional responsiveness and flexibility in shaping an effective disaster response also emerge very clearly from this study of the Tamil Nadu experience. Another crucial finding points to the need for detailed, reliable and disaggregated geo-demographic and socioeconomic records as a resource base for informing relief and rehabilitation interventions. The study draws extensively from the experiences and insights of people affected by, and involved in tsunami response, and from secondary knowledge resources available on the disaster.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-80
JournalJournal of Social Work in Disability and Rehabilitation
Issue number3/4
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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