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Week 3Social vulnerability to disaster myth of community, gen.docx
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Week 3Social vulnerability to disaster myth of community, gen.docx

  1. Week 3 Social vulnerability to disaster: myth of community, gender, and ethnicity Last week what did we discuss? The theories about disasters The dominant paradigm and criticisms of it The alternative model: political ecology PAR model This week we will discuss Disaster justice Social vulnerability to disasters: Myth of community Causes of differences in social vulnerability: Gender Race/ethnicity Others Culture and vulnerability Disaster justice Linkages to Environmental Justice Hillman (2006, 695) explains that “environment justice as a political movement and research programme originated amidst concerns over the unjust distribution of environmental hazards primarily in, or close to, disadvantaged or marginalised
  2. communities.” Most scholars trace the origin of the environmental justice movement to a protest in 1982 against the dumping of PCB- laden dirt into a waste landfill in Warren County, North Carolina. The county was 65 percent Black. This protest marked one of the first times when civil rights and environmental groups collaborated. Studies in the 1980s and early 1990s which demonstrated linkages between not only environmental risk, namely the location of toxic waste sites, waste dumps, and power plants, and poverty but also between environmental risk and race in the US further empowered these activists, Also, only starting in the 1990s, has the environmental justice framework been applied outside of the United States. It is still not widely used in Asia as a framework academically but there are increasing movements for environmental justice (e.g. in China, Vietnam, and Thailand) Regardless, of the location, as Schroeder et al. (2008) assert, at the core of environmental justice struggles are universal and part of broader patterns of injustice of a global significance. Schlosberg’s 3 types of injustices What are they? distributive (how environmental goods and harms are unevenly distributed) procedural (whether different groups have equal access to decision-making) lack of recognition (whether groups have been discriminated against due to their identity). 2 key questions
  3. 1) what patterns of social inequality exist in relation to the environmental good or bad? This question is a distributional one in which a contextual process claim of injustice is being made. Such a claim analyses a specific situation, such as the distribution of floodwater in Bangkok in 2011, and historically traces patterns of urban development and decision-making and how these patterns produced injustices. Questions that also need to be asked are how inequalities are being produced, who is responsible for them, how decisions have been made have, and how are government policies and practices created and enacted 2) The second series of questions are procedural ones, examining how a society operates: how power is distributed, and how uneven environmental outcomes arise as a consequence? A basic insight of the movement is that “distribution of environmental goods and harms,” e.g. has a tendency to “follow that of economic goods and harms” (MacCallum et. al 2011) Paavola and Adger (2006) valuably add that a just response to disaster risks must first incorporate the principle of prioritising the most vulnerable. This group is comprised of those most in need in terms of redistribution, but also these people’s rights must be recognised so their voices are included in decision- making processes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0L2xCwD5RNI
  4. Disaster Justice Applying the environmental justice framework to disasters emerged in 2006 as Hurricane Katrina revealed that environmental injustices arose largely due to pre-existing structural inequalities Since then, a small but growing body of literature has framed disaster risks in the US and elsewhere as a question of environmental inequality and injustice. By emphasising inequalities in vulnerability, one can assess what constitutes justice and fairness for those at risk to disasters, rather than treat them as a ‘given’ or as problems that need to be managed Group exercise Please give example of the 3 types of injustices which could arise from the following environmental problems: 1) urban flooding in a) Jakarta and b) Bangkok 2) typhoon in a) Philippines and b) Myanmar 3) earthquake in a) China and b) Indonesia 4) drought in a) India and b) North Korea To begin What is social vulnerability to disasters? How did we define vulnerability last week? “The characteristics of a person or group in terms of their capacity to anticipate, cope with, resist, and recover from the impact of a natural hazard” Though remember there is no such thing as a natural hazard! What are the key words in this definition? “person” “group” and “capacity” So how does society affect vulnerability? Social and economic attributions/characteristics such as
  5. poverty, race, class/caste, ethnicity, gender, age, physical ability, and housing affect vulnerability to disasters in all phases of the disaster cycle (preparation, response, relief, recovery, etc.) But also cultural beliefs affect vulnerability too Last week we discussed some about the link between poverty and vulnerability. This week we will discuss other characteristics Disaster research and projects Lot of disaster research and projects in Asia to reduce vulnerability focus on the community level “‘Community’ has become the badge of honour that enables the organizations which receive funds to claim that they are doing the right thing” The World Bank alone has invested or granted US$ 85 billion in the past ten years to local participatory development activities NGOs, Red Cross Red Crescent and others dedicating to supporting vulnerable communities What are some definitions, markers, or examples of communities in your country? In Thailand, urban communities are recognised as legal entities and receive a small monthly budget from the municipality, or, in the case of Bangkok, the district office. In each community, a community leader and committee members are elected every two years. Why focus on the community? Over the past 40 years or so, there has been a major shift in much development work from ‘top-down’ policies towards a much greater focus on ‘grass-roots’ and participatory activities. This change has given rise to a greatly increased role for NGOs
  6. (local, national and international) – including those engaged in DRR and CCA – as major agents for development. Community is mostly seen as a location or geographical space, often a village or an urban neighbourhood, because this is how the organizations involved give a clearly defined boundary. Within this boundary goals are set, recipients of aid defined, activities carried out and budget spent the definition of ‘community’ that organizations end up with is that it is merely ‘where we work’ Some value in this approach? Includes diverse groups who may or may not have a common interest Working at the local scale can help to identify local problems and come up with local solutions Positive intervention which doesn’t challenge existing social relations within the community https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFNpLGgY_DI But what’s wrong with this approach? The Myth of Community: Four major problems Communities are NOT a uniform, homogenous entity lacking internal conflicts and divisions Power systems at the local level
  7. The problem of participation as a method of engagement with communities Differences within households (gender, age, disability, etc.) 1. Divisions and conflicts within communities Communities are “a romantic idea” Notion of community falsely implies unity, collaboration, cooperation and sharing Uniformity is rare in terms of class, ethnicity, livelihood, or wealth But in reality, the ‘community’ in most cases is a collection of different class groups arranged in a structure of power relations linked to which group has more or less ownership of land. “Communities are complex and often not united. There will be differences in wealth, social status and labour activity between people living in the same area and there may be more serious divisions within the community” - Twigg (2009) In many cases, no social cohesion and collaboration but conflict, friction, and intra-community exploitation E.g., in ‘community’ in a city in India: rich had created boundary walls which pushed water to poorer households Class/caste Social discrimination: don’t feel same part of community E.g., in project in India, volunteer from higher caste said there was no point talking to people from lower castes as they are unable to grasp key concepts being discussed and provide meaningful input Another example: those from higher caste, don’t want to work together with those from other castes because didn’t want to participate as ‘equals’ Urban communities
  8. Often in developing Asia, many migrants -> lack of social cohesion/trust Second, in rural areas: villagers work together (e.g., farming together) which lead to shared values and more social cohesion. In contrast, wage laborers or work informally – but not together. So also less cohesion Third, in poor urban communities, evicted or some forced to move -> new groupings of people -> less social cohesion 2. Power relations within communities Some groups and individuals within groups have more power Internal divisions are related to power systems Power systems create unequal vulnerabilities to disasters For example, land tenure: the ways that land (especially rural land) is owned and controlled by different classes. Most landless and land-poor households have to labour on other people’s land. Landowners have a lot of power E.g., following disaster, commons for land owners to give credit/loans to landless people. This can lead to the poor being effectively tied to the landlord for many years, in a form of debt bondage. Highly unequal access to land debunks simplistic ideas about community. Land and the power it gives or takes away create diverse patterns of vulnerability Elite Capture Local elites within communities: community leaders, landowners, etc. Those who have power are able to use it (either during the project or after it is finished, or both) to acquire the assets or other benefits of the project activities E.g., in Pakistan, poor and landless peasant households lost
  9. crops and homes, while their absentee landlords were able to claim large sums of compensation from the government for damage. Threatens pre-existing patronage systems In India, project would popularize water-harvesting in four neighbourhoods (or ‘communities’) that were facing water scarcity. Would bring substantial benefit to people in these neighbourhoods Their elected representative had a very negative attitude towards the project he allegedly provided water tankers in the summer for political allegiance and electoral funds in local elections Another example from India Project organized volunteers to collect and dispose garbage to protect drains from blockage and to help get rid of storm water to prevent flooding. This change threatened the existing, malfunctioning system of waste management that was allegedly a source of kickbacks for the local politician So local elites could either benefit from project, sabotage it, or stop it from continuing afterwards So overall, DRR projects may disturb (or worsen) the existing power relations Examples from my research in Bangkok North vs South: 1) northern community leader used money from government to develop the north while south remained a slum
  10. but still same community He and others in north opposed project to upgrade housing in community and move community away from canal because he would lose his ‘land’ from it from which he encroached Southern side wanted to split into two communities but district office in Bangkok opposed it saying there were too many communities Mayor in Bang Bua Thong, a town on outskirts of Bangkok, gave more relief packages and boats to households who voted for him. But also compensation Problems with participation Any ideas? Participatory exercises are often public events that are open ended regarding target groups and programme activities. Thus, such events are inherently political and the resulting project design is often shaped by local power and gender relations. Outside agendas are often expressed as local knowledge. Project facilitators shape and direct participatory exercises, and the ‘needs’ of local people are often shaped by perceptions of what the project can deliver. Participants may concur in the process of problem definition and planning in order to manipulate the programme to serve their own interests. Although their concurrence can benefit both project staff and local people, it places consensus and action above detailed planning. Participatory processes can be used to legitimize a project that has previously established priorities and little real support from the community. Have to work with oppressive local leaders Need to contact (and get the approval of) the local government
  11. officials and local ‘leaders’ In village in India, DRR researcher found that ‘head of the village’ had murdered 2 field laborer union leaders because they asked for higher wages from him After that, unlikely poor people and others would express own views if different than his 4. Differences within households What are some differences? Differences within households: gender, age, disability, Need to take into account these differences in terms of vulnerability to disasters Group exercise #1 Please discuss differences in vulnerability to disasters of these groups and the reasons why Think about the different phases of the disaster cycle: preparedness, impacts, emergency response/relief, and recovery 1) Women 2) Minority race/ethnicity 3) Children 4) Elderly 5) Disabled (blind, deaf, etc.) Women Cannot be understood outside of patriarchy and global capitalism E.g., men migrate to find work and leave women behind in rural environment or risky urban settlements Primary resource users, many depend on natural resource based livelihoods Responsible for dependents in households Gender inequality due to unfair barriers to education and
  12. achievement, cultural devaluation of women, gender division of labor, and gender violence Gendered vulnerability to disasters The “digital divide” in cyberspace (unequal access to computers and the Internet) is a limiting factor in many cultures – constrains access to warnings studies of major destructive events in the developing world, girls and women are highly vulnerable to the effects of environmental disasters and are the majority of those killed Reasons: family care, physical health, and reproductive status But also gendered division of labor is a powerful explanation - puts adult women and men in physically different locations. E.g., when 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami wave came ashore in many Sri Lankan villages, men out fishing survived more often than women waiting on the beach to prepare and market the day’s catch Women’s access to health care before disasters can deteriorate further in the aftermath, as was reported of low-income Katrina survivors who depended upon diabetes clinics Women have lower caloric intake than men, partially due to social inequalities, especially impoverished ones, makes them physically weaker and more prone to injury/death But also difficult for pregnant women women at greater risk of post-disaster stress Higher risk of emotional abuse and violence in aftermath of diseases Caregiving responsibilities – must take of children – puts them more at risk Gender bias in recovery programs may also deter women’s recovery -> e.g., Women more likely to denied small-business loans and access to disaster-relief programs
  13. Securing relief falls largely to women Women’s group actively involved in crisis period However, women are less involved in decision-making and planning processes -> often excluded E.g., small minority of emergency managers in Australia But also women have disproportionate burden to care for victims Women’s economic status and family roles are formidable barriers in the race for affordable housing, making women more dependent on temporary accommodations https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Em6QE5R9XMw https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AD6Q4aEIns More positively Women organize at grassroots levels to manage risk and respond to disasters Following Hurricane Katrina, many women who were community activists prior to the storm stepped into advocacy roles for equity in disaster relief and recovery A network of women’s organizations, called Rise Together for Women in East Japan Disaster, united to promote the rights of women and other vulnerable populations who were affected by the “triple disaster” of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown in 2011. Racial/ethnic minorities and disaster Language barrier (warnings, talking to emergency agencies, filling out forms afterwards, etc.)
  14. Less trust in authorities Different degree of social networks (e.g., some minorities would have fewer) Often higher fatalities: rate of blacks injured from hurricanes much higher in the US Higher degree of emotional stress/injury Racism in response – e.g., response workers in US restored power first to white communities Media bias: media focuses on majority communities -> contributes to their recovering quicker Racism in relief/compensation: government gave less relief and/or compensation money to minorities In Thailand: government agencies only gave relief to Thai citizens not overseas workers, such as Cambodians Burmese, even though millions work there Cultural differences/misunderstanding: don’t take into account native culture and lifestyle E.g., American government rebuilt houses for Inuits in Alaska with small kitchens and large living rooms but their family life centered on kitchens Similar to women, less access to finance More positively Racial groups have formed community groups, political coalitions and pushed for change after discrimination experience during and after disasters Some coalitions were successful in improving living conditions of minorities in the US Also can open political dialogues about racism/discrimination
  15. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnF5I7lt6nQ Elderly Researchers have found that the elderly, which are people aged 65 and over, constitute a group especially at risk to disasters. This intensified risk is due to their lower likelihood to receive warnings, higher reluctance to evacuate, and higher probability to become physical casualties as a result of disaster In comparison to those who are younger, elderly are more susceptible to injury, economic losses, employment interruptions, and accruement of large debts Number of characteristics of the elderly, such as living alone, smaller social circles, and fewer resources, causes them to be more vulnerable, psychologically and physically, to disasters There is differential vulnerability within this group: the old-old (75 years and older) are more vulnerable than the young-old (65-74 years old) because on average, the old-old are less affluent, active, and independent Post-Katrina demographic analyses found that rather than race, old age was the most accurate predictor of the likelihood of death from the hurricane Richard Blewitt, the head of HelpAge International, an NGO focusing on assisting older people, stated, "In an emergency, older people's lives are affected by many factors. These include inaccessible food distribution points, rations that are too heavy to carry or too difficult to digest and a tendency to share their rations with family members. Also, relief agencies often fail to recognise the needs of older people, even when they are caring for children”
  16. Thailand 2011 Floods The elderly were highly vulnerable to the floods for a number of reasons First, many elderly decided not to evacuate because they never thought the water level would rise as high as it did. Such high- level flooding had never occurred during their lifetimes. Second, many were worried about having their property stolen if they left their houses Third, it was physically more difficult for the elderly to venture out into flooded areas to receive relief supplies Those who didn’t evacuate had trouble accessing sufficient healthcare – roads blocked, had to use boats -> some died as a result Higher rate of illness: flood-related stress was either a trigger for their illnesses or they became sick because of the dirty stale water and difficult living conditions Limited incomes -> government doesn’t give much pension Children https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDz6Xpkn9is Any other groups with vulnerabilities? Disabled: both mentally and physically Sexual minorities: gay, lesbian, transsexual Group exercise #2 Develop a disaster risk reduction plan in a community (which
  17. doesn’t have elite capture) for these groups in an Asian country: A. Women B. Ethnic minority C. Elderly/children – you pick D. Disabled (blind/deaf/mentally disabled) 1) Pick the type of disaster 2) Pick the country How could community-based DRR work? The interventions being proposed can take place for the benefit of the poor and vulnerable without needing to change existing power relations. Powerful people and institutions are incorporated into the DRR and CCA process, and have a common interest in supporting the measures being taken. Because they recognize the common dangers of worse disasters and climate change, the powerful realize they need to transfer resources or raise poor people’s income so that vulnerability and poverty are reduced. The DRR and CCA interventions challenge the status quo in a way that is unacceptable to the powerful, who may pretend to cooperate while subverting the process or capturing its benefits (during or after the project). Culture and disasters What is culture? Culture is the pattern of ideas, values, and beliefs common to a different group of people. So includes religion, traditional values/customs, folklore, superstitions, folklore, etc. How does it affect vulnerability/risk to disaster?
  18. Cultural factors play a large part in determining perspectives, influencing whether people decide to make changes that will minimize current and future vulnerability But little attention has been paid to how cultural systems influence society’s perceptions of and responses to natural hazards, even though these influence choices about livelihoods, priorities, and values Reviews of DRR and adaptation activities show that cultural issues continue to be poorly addressed in policy and science. Examples Can you think of any? In 1963 at Mount Agung in Bali, Indonesia, more than 1,000 people were killed in a procession heading towards lava flows, believing the flows were their gods descending to greet them In Central America, the more fatalistic and individualistic Evangelical Protestants were less likely to be involved in DRR projects, because their religious doctrine dictated that humans have no power over such divine forces Most Pacific island people consider that their devotion to God is sufficient to protect them from harm In Kenya, traditional ceremonies are forms of coping strategies. The community response to drought includes prayer. Praying often involves other actions, which bring together the community. This makes them better prepared mentally, and sometimes physically, to deal with hazard. Many Filipinos believed that disasters are acts of God How does this affect vulnerability to disasters?
  19. Therefore must take account of people’s own beliefs and attitudes to the hazards that are embedded in their lives Studies have shown that strongly held sociocultural values, such as those embedded in caste systems, do shift as the need arises Acknowledgment that culture is not stationary in time, but, rather, that it is dynamic and can adapt to changes in environment and society CMP105: Week 7 Assignment Page 3 ` Case Study: Social Media in Education and HealthcareAssignment Overview This assignment is intended to demonstrate your comprehension of the primary applications of health informatics in healthcare organizations as well as the ethical and legal issues involved in the healthcare informatics field. For this assignment, you will read a case study that examines the use of social media in education and healthcare. Based on the scenario described in the case study, you will answer questions related to the various ways social media might be used in these settings.Assignment Details: Perform the following tasks: · Complete the reading assignment and the interactive lesson before attempting this assignment. · Read the case study located in the Assignment Worksheet section below and answer the questions that follow · Ensure that your responses are free of spelling and grammar errors. · Cite all sources used to support your responses in APA format. · Submit the Week 7 Assignment via Blackboard by clicking on the “Week 7 Assignment” link. · Include the proper file naming convention: · CMP105_wk7_assn_jsmith_mmddyyyy.
  20. Grading: Grading Criteria Points Possible Points Earned Question 1 · Selects social media tool; includes website 10 · Provides rationale for selecting social media tool 30 Question 2 · Develops set of instructions for accessing social media tool 30 Question 3 · Creates a set of appropriate “ground rules” 10 · Provides thoughtful rationale for created ground rules 30 Question 4 · Provides response that addresses criteria of question. 30 Adheres to the Writing Conventions (APA); responses are free of grammar and spelling errors.
  21. 20 Total Points 160 Assignment Worksheet: · Case Study Read the following case study and answer the questions that follow: Grace Speak is a fourth-year student at Best University. She and her fellow classmates are working hard in their final courses and preparing for exams. Inspired by the teamwork that the healthcare profession espouses, Grace gets an idea for a study group. She thinks it will really help to share case experiences, course notes, and study tips. Unfortunately, several members of her peer group live out of town, which makes it difficult for them to participate fully. Grace is torn, as she does not want to exclude them from the study group. When she voices her concerns to a classmate, her friend suggests using social media tools as the primary medium for sharing information. Questions 1. Two required elements that a single social media site must have to meet the needs of her study group are the ability to share ideas and experiences (chat), and share information (store documents). Research several social media sites that meet both of the required elements for Grace’s group. Select one social media tool, include its website, and explain your rationale for selecting that tool. Selected Social Media Tool (and website) [Write your response here.] Rationale [Write your response here.]
  22. 2. Grace discovers that not all of the members of the group use the social media tool she selected. In your own words, create a set of simple instructions that other members of the group could follow to ensure full group participation. [Write your response here.] 3. Grace decides to establish a set of “ground rules” from the outset when she forms the study group. Create a set of “ground rules” that will help to create a group with full participation by all members and that will not place members of the group at risk, for either privacy or academic (plagiarism) concerns. Provide your reasoning for the “ground rules” you established. Ground Rules [Write your response here.] Rationale [Write your response here.] 4. In a specific week, the assignment is particularly challenging. One of the students in the study group offers to post the “answers” he received from a student who completed this same assignment last year from the same instructor. Grace knows that one of her close friends in the study group is at risk of failing if she does not do well on this assignment. Describe how Grace might handle this situation to reduce the academic risk of plagiarism for herself, her friend, and other members of the study group. [Write your response here.] Welcome to AIS 5337: Disaster Management, Development and Regional Governance
  23. in Asia Danny Marks Course Introduction Myself Syllabus Course Rules No question is a stupid one! Please raise your hand and stop me at any point No chit chat! Yourself Let’s start with some polls https://www.polleverywhere.com/my/polls Why should we care about disasters? In 2018, there were 315 natural disaster events recorded with 11,804 deaths, over 68 million people affected, and US$131.7 billion in economic losses across the world. The burden was not shared equally: Asia suffered the highest impact and accounted for 45% of disaster events, 80% of deaths, and 76% of people affected. And why study them? 1) We are rushing headlong into a calamitous future - The future is uncertain and the evidence that we have predicts apocalyptic scenarios if we do not change course but rather continue to over-consume and destroy our only world. This gives a massive sense of urgency to the research field.
  24. Think of recent forest fires in Australia 2) It is a pathway to protect the vulnerable - Disasters are about people at risk. Those most affected by disasters are the most marginalised, discriminated against, dispossessed and displaced in our society. They need to have a platform for their voices to be heard. A disaster researcher has a great opportunity to connect human IMPACTS to ROOT CAUSES, and make evidence-based arguments for change. 3) Complex, extreme conditions are not well understood - Most conventional knowledge is built on what we can predict and, ever more widely, what we can model. Outliers are not recognised in our computations and as a society we are broadly ignorant of disaster risk. We need more complete, more straightforward and more challenging data. 4) It is an outlet for activism - Disasters are political! Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. The biggest challenges in communicating truths about disaster are myths and misconceptions, widely held in our society. BUT people are interested, and they do care. Convincing arguments can be made and turned into action in this field that certainly grabs the attention. 5) The current system is not working - The status quo is creating risk, not reducing risk. Our leaders are either blind to the dangers of maintaining the social/economic/political order or are owned by special interests in rejecting the consideration of alternatives. The study of disasters provides a perspective on this dilemma.
  25. 6) Disasters highlight socio-economic inequality and injustice - This is a unique place from which to critique the many structural failures in our society. As we investigate why people are at risk, how they are impacted and how they can avoid future calamity, we have the opportunity to collaborate with other disciplines to develop more holistic responses to injustice. What is a disaster? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZXNcli9suo What’s your reaction to the clip? Given this course, is on disasters – how would you define one? Any guesses? How is it different than a hazard? Hazard is a natural phenomenon that could but may not trigger a disaster Examples include volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and storms Movement of Earth’s crustal plates triggers earthquakes and tsunamis. Variation in solar radiation entering the atmosphere and oceans triggers storms in the summertime and blizzards in winter. The movement of energy in Earth’s system is what drives these natural processes. 7 So how is a disaster different from a hazard? Disasters occur because of the intersection of hazard with exposed people and assets that are vulnerable to the hazard. A disaster is a sudden, calamitous event that seriously disrupts the functioning of a community or society and causes human, material, and economic or environmental losses that exceed the community’s or society’s ability to cope using its own
  26. resources. Vulnerability is the “characteristics of a person or group in terms of their capacity to anticipate, cope with, resist, and recover from the impact of a natural hazard” (Wisner et al 2004) Are disasters on the rise? Yes! Quadrupled (400% more) in last 40 years And even more than in last 100 years Number of Disasters: 1900-2011 More frequent & intense extreme weather events Criteria for inclusion as disaster. Any guess? 10 or more people dead 100 or more people affected (which means people requiring immediate assistance during a period of emergency, i.e. requiring basic survival needs such as food, water, shelter, sanitation and immediate medical assistance.) The declaration of a state of emergency A call for international assistance
  27. Why do you think many more disasters & increased damage/injury from them today? Increased population – greater number of people exposed to them But also greater concentration – more people live in cities so if these cities are hit, higher damage and losses Better reporting technology/information – before some parts of globe couldn’t report (e.g., were isolated) Climate change Environmental change within country. Can think of any examples? Cutting down of mangrove forests – worse waves/erosion Cutting down trees – more flash foods Concretization and filling in of waterways – more runoff for floods Building in hazardous areas, e.g., upon hill or mountain -> landslides Climate emergency and disasters Climate Change & Extreme Weather Events/Disasters
  28. Greenhouse Gas Effect Of GHG: carbon most abundant followed by methane and then ozone C02 is a major player; without any of it in the air, Earth would be a frozen wasteland The gas has increased 43% above the pre-industrial level so far When did human start having a big impact? Humans started having a big impact during the Industrial Revolution due to the invention of the steam engine and production of coal. One of the keys to the Revolution was the invention of the coal- powered steam engine because it freed up energy constraints that had previously limited the scale of economic production in the past. The downside is that the burning of coal and other fossil fuels emits additional carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) into the air. Deforestation too increases the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere because it weakens the capacity of sinks. As a result of these two trends, the level of CO2 in the atmosphere has
  29. skyrocketed from its pre-industrial level of 280 parts per million (ppm) to today’s level of 407 ppm, over 40% Warming of the Earth’s Surface The climate has increased 2.0ºF (1.1ºC) since 1880 (when records began at global scale) with the majority of this increase, 1.2ºF (0.7ºC), occurring in the past 30 years Most regions of the world are warmer now than at any other time since at least 900 CE In the last 10 years, we have recorded 9 warmest ones 2016 was so far warmest year on record - 1.78 degrees Fahrenheit (0.99 degrees Celsius) warmer than the mid-20th century mean The number may sound low, but as an average over the surface of an entire planet, it is actually high Observed change in surface temperature 1901-2012 Chart of Rising Temperatures https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/08/30/climate/how- much-hotter-is-your-hometown.html C02 Rise Tied to Temperature Rise
  30. How do we know humans are responsible for the increase in carbon dioxide? Hard evidence, including studies that use radioactivity to distinguish industrial emissions from natural emissions, shows that the extra gas is coming from human activity. More plant-based isotopes in atmosphere due to fossil fuels (which mainly come from old plants) being burned Carbon dioxide levels rose and fell naturally in the long-ago past, but those changes took thousands of years. Geologists say that humans are now pumping the gas into the air much faster than nature has ever done. Could natural factors be the cause of the warming? In theory, they could be. If the sun were to start putting out more radiation, for instance, that would definitely warm the Earth. But scientists have looked carefully at the natural factors known to influence planetary temperature and found that they are not changing nearly enough. The warming is extremely rapid on the geologic time scale, and no other factor can explain it as well as human emissions of greenhouse gases.
  31. Why climate emergency/climate? You can think of global warming as one type of climate change. The broader term covers changes beyond warmer temperatures, such as shifting rainfall patterns Other changes besides warming Sea level rise: predicted 18-60 cm rise by 2100 -> currently about 3 mm/year worldwide Over the last two decades, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have been losing mass, glaciers have continued to shrink almost worldwide Ocean acidification: increase in 30% acidity – 30% of emissions absorbed by oceans Most of Them Hydrometereological Hurricanes & typhoons get their energy from warm ocean waters, and the oceans are warming because of the human- caused buildup of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere, primarily from the burning of coal, oil and gas. The strongest hurricanes have gotten stronger because of global warming. Over the past two years, we have witnessed the most intense hurricanes on record for the globe, in both hemispheres: the Pacific and now, with Irma, the Atlantic. More Heat Waves In July 2016, Mitribah, Kuwait reached 129.2 °F (54 °C) and
  32. Basra, Iraq reached 129 °F (53.9 °C). These are the highest temperatures ever recorded in the Eastern Hemisphere and on planet Earth outside of Death Valley It is virtually certain that there will be more frequent hot and fewer cold temperature extremes over most land areas on daily and seasonal timescales as global mean temperatures increase. It is very likely that heat waves will occur with a higher frequency and duration. Occasional cold winter extremes will continue to occur Some places could become inhabitable Wildfires Wildfires are increasing and wildfire season is getting longer (e.g., US & Australia). Higher spring and summer temperatures and earlier spring snow-melt result in forests that are hotter and drier for longer periods of time. This makes it easier for wildfires to ignite and spread https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGx6P2UR8Ig So who is responsible? We are! There is no such thing as a natural disaster – all disasters are manmade If better building structures, fewer losses and deaths from earthquakes Better city planning, fewer losses from floods
  33. More mangrove forests, fewer losses from typhoons But also us for emitting greenhouse gases (burning fossil fuels & cutting down forests) But there is good news… Why is this the case? Richer countries have fewer losses: better infrastructure, better warning systems, better building codes And there have been improvements in some countries, such as Philippines – better warning system there now Disasters in Asia Since 1970 a person living in the Asia-Pacific region has been five times (500%) more likely to be affected by disasters than a person living outside the region. Between 1970 and 2016, Asia and the Pacific lost $1.3 trillion in assets. Almost all of this was the result of floods, storms, droughts and earthquakes including tsunamis From 2020-2030: predicted that 40%of global economic losses from disasters will be in Asia Greatest losses in the largest economies – Japan and China, followed by the Republic of Korea and India 2000-2015: low- and lower middle-income countries experienced by far the most disaster deaths, and lost more people per disaster event More than 8,000 people died per disaster – almost 15 times the average toll in the region’s high-income countries
  34. Since 1900, 9 of 10 biggest disasters in terms of death toll were in Asia Big disasters since 2000: India earthquake in 2001: 20,000 deaths Asian tsunami in 2004: 165,000 deaths Pakistan earthquake in 2005: 73,000 deaths Sichuan earthquake in 2008: 87,500 deaths Cycle Nargis in Myanmar: 138,000 deaths Thailand floods in 2011: $45 billion in damage Japan tsunami/earthquake in 2011: 20 killed and $162 billion Typhoon Haiyan in Philippines in 2013: 7,350 deaths Women particularly vulnerable in Asia Some countries are more vulnerable than others
  35. Disasters and development There has long existed a strong correlation between the magnitude of disaster consequence that affect a country and the levels of poverty that are experienced by its population. The cost of mitigating significant hazard risk can be extremely – even prohibitively – high. From preparing the land for resistant construction, to building resistant structures, using resistant materials and practices, and maintaining resilience, all come at a cost to the private and public sectors “Development” is the gradual improvement of a nation’s infrastructure, access to services, institutions, public health, foreign debt, and many other development indicators It is well documented that countries repeatedly faced with catastrophic (capacity-exceeding) disasters tend to experience stagnant or even negative rates of development over time So in Asia, lot of poverty but also disasters worsening poverty and hurting development in some countries (e.g., Philippines, Bangladesh) Trans Inst Br Geogr NS 32 411–427 2007 ISSN 0020 -2754 © 2007 The Authors. Journal compilation © Royal Geographical Society (with The Institute of British Geographers) 2007
  36. Blackwell Publishing Ltd Peace in the wake of disaster? Secessionist conflicts and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami Philippe Le Billon* and Arno Waizenegger** This paper explores the impact of ‘natural’ disasters on armed conflicts, focusing on the evolution of secessionist conflicts in Aceh and Sri Lanka following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Most studies suggest that ‘natural’ disasters exacerbate pre-existing conflicts. Yet whereas conflict did escalate in Sri Lanka within a year of the tsunami, in Aceh hostilities unexpectedly ended within eight months. Drawing on a comparative analytical framework and semi-structured fieldwork interviews in Aceh, the study points to the importance of spatial dimensions in explaining diverging political outcomes in Aceh and Sri Lanka, focusing on the reshaping of governable spaces following the tsunami. key words natural disaster war conflict resolution political geography
  37. Aceh Sri Lanka *Department of Geography and Liu Institute for Global Issues, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z2, Canada email: [email protected] **Department of Geography, University of Cologne, Albertus Magnus Platz, 50923 Cologne, Germany revised manuscript received 19 February 2007 Introduction On 26 December 2004, a sub-marine earthquake 150 kilometres west of Sumatra triggered a tsunami that directly affected about 2 million people (TEC 2006). Among the estimated 227 000 people who lost their lives in the disaster, nearly 90 per cent lived in Aceh or Sri Lanka. Structural poverty, profit-driven coastal exposure and a criminal neglect of disaster prevention had increased vulnerability along many coastal areas of the Indian Ocean (Glassman 2005). In Aceh and Sri Lanka, vulnerability also reflected decades of civil war and military repression (Lawson 2005), and the tsunami raised hopes of peace for both places (Renner and Chafe 2006). Disasters can bring about political transformation (Pelling and Dill 2006), but they appear to be more frequently followed by political unrest than peace (Olson and Drury 1997; Brancati and Bhavnani 2006), and the conflict
  38. resolution effects of ‘disaster diplomacy’ are rarely lasting (Kelman and Koukis 2000; Kelman 2006). Whereas hostilities escalated in Sri Lanka within a year of the tsunami, the conflict in Aceh ended eight months after the disaster. Taking a geographical perspective, this paper examines these diverging paths. Political violence and ‘natural’ disasters are intensely geographical phenomena, in both their material and imaginative spatialities (Pelling 2003; Wisner et al. 2004; Flint 2005; Gregory and Pred 2006). Geographers have studied various aspects of the relationships between environment and conflict, but ‘natural’ disasters and armed conflicts have received limited attention (see Dalby 2002). Similarly, geographers studying hazards and vulnerability have given only limited or recent attention to armed conflicts (Pelling 2003; Korf 2004), with the notable exception of wartime vulnerability to drought (see Wisner et al. 2004), and the politics of humanitarianism (Hyndman 2000). Few studies have bridged these two literatures, although political
  39. ecology suggests interesting approaches and areas of convergence (Watts and Bohle 1993; Pelling 412 Philippe Le Billon and Arno Waizenegger Trans Inst Br Geogr NS 32 411–427 2007 ISSN 0020 -2754 © 2007 The Authors. Journal compilation © Royal Geographical Society (with The Institute of British Geographers) 2007 2003). Drawing together these literatures and polit- ical sciences studies suggesting that pre-disaster political trends play a major role in the outcome of disasters, we suggest a conceptual framework to examine the impact of ‘natural’ disasters on armed conflicts and present a geographically focused analysis of the cases of secessionist conflicts in Aceh and Sri Lanka following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. We first outline debates on disaster-related conflict transformation, and then present a geographically informed framework engaging with the impact of disasters on conflict transformation, with a focus on its spatial dimensions. The conceptual approach
  40. first distinguishes between different types of conflicts and disasters and then analyses disaster effects through three lines of inquiry: the location- specific spatialities of disasters and conflicts (i.e. which areas and populations were affected by conflict and/or disaster); the transformation of ‘governable space’ (i.e. shifts in territorialized power relations); and the transformation of public discourse about disaster-struck and conflict-affected areas. We do so through three main dimensions: military, socio-political and socio-economic. In the second section, we draw on this framework to explain divergence in conflict transformation in Aceh and Sri Lanka. Drawing on 62 field-based interviews, the study focuses on the ‘Acehnese’ exception and examines Sri Lanka for comparative purposes (see methodology note below). Our findings confirm that pre-disaster political trends played a major role in post-disaster conflict outcomes, but we also suggest that the specific spatialities of conflicts and disasters, as well as the reshaping of governable spaces and public dis- courses in the wake of disaster influenced the diverging political fallouts of the tsunami in Aceh and Sri Lanka. Political fallouts of ‘natural’ disasters and conflict transformation The political character of ‘natural’ disasters and disaster-related activities is well documented (Birkland 1998; Olson 2000; Wisner
  41. et al. 2004). Disaster risk has ‘political roots’, notably (unequal) power relations and (under) development processes (Peacock et al. 1997; Pelling 2003). Hurricane Katrina, for example, renewed attention to inter- racial and class-based inequalities, prejudices and tensions in the United States (Bakker 2005; Frymer et al. 2006). Politics, rather than the strict ‘needs’ of disaster victims, also influence responses to disasters (de Waal 1997; Fielden 1998; Drury et al. 2005). Interpretations of disasters represent political choices with political impacts, particularly from a gender perspective (Enarson and Morrow 1998), and for disaster recovery or future risk mitigation (Harwell 2000).
  42. Two main arguments are generally presented regarding the political fallouts of disasters. First, disasters can foster political change (Birkland 1998; Prater and Lindell 2000), notably because they result in grievances among the affected population and a more acute sense of identity. Disasters offer possibilities of enhanced legitimacy for the political leadership, and generally result in greater scrutiny over dominant institutions and development policies, a repositioning of political actors at multiple scales, and ‘spontaneous’ post-disaster collective action (Pelling and Dill 2006). Collective action can also result from the mobilization and representation of place-based and disasters-affected populations by external ‘contentious supporters’ eager to leverage grievances to challenge the political status quo (Shefner 1999). Post-disaster collective action faces a risk of repressive backlash by authorities (Drury and Olson 1998; Pelling and Dill 2006). Conflicts also undermine disaster prevention and mitigation by eroding the trust between citizens and their government, and have enduring effects on the vulnerability of politically marginalized groups (Wisner et al . 2004). If disasters are found to gener- ally aggravate ‘political unrest’, especially so in countries already affected by conflicts (Drury and Olson 1998; Wisner
  43. et al . 2004), disasters are also perceived as a ‘window of opportunity’ for peace, notably through the alteration of value structure among survivors, the need for mutual relief assistance and collaboration between belligerents, enhanced local political socialization and mobilization, as well as international involvement and ‘disaster diplomacy’ (Quarantelli 1978; Kelman 2006; Renner and Chafe 2006). In this respect, early studies observed much variability in outcomes but noted a higher prevalence of conflicts during ‘reconstruction’ than ‘emergency’ phases of disasters (Quarantelli and Dynes 1976). Second, the political fallouts of disasters largely reflect pre-disaster contexts and trends (Hoffman and Oliver-Smith 2002; Lindell and Prater 2003). Post-disaster conflict transformation would thus represent an acceleration and amplification of Secessionist conflicts and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami 413 Trans Inst Br Geogr NS 32 411–427 2007
  44. ISSN 0020 -2754 © 2007 The Authors. Journal compilation © Royal Geographical Society (with The Institute of British Geographers) 2007 pre-disaster social and political dynamics, rather than a ‘new departure’ brought about by a devastating disaster. Economically, the higher the pre-disaster Gross Domestic Product and income inequality in a country, the less political systems seem affected by a disaster (Drury and Olson 1998). Among low and middle-income countries, democracies tend to face higher levels of violent unrest following disasters than autocracies (Drury and Olson 2001). Studies based on rational-choice conflict resolution bargaining models, however, give relatively limited attention to context beyond elitist politics, macro- economic indicators and third party interventions (see Sundberg and Vestergren 2005). In contrast, theories of conflict transformation – arguing that transforming interests, social relationships and dis- courses are key to ending violent conflicts – engage with a broader contextualization (Miall et al. 2005). Geographical approaches can contribute to this contextualization, notably with regard to spatialized identities and spaces of vulnerability (Watts and Bohle 1993; Cutter 1996; Wisner
  45. et al. 2004; Rigg et al. 2005; Stokke 2005). Pelling and Dill (2006) emphasize the greater risk of tensions resulting from the pre-disaster political marginality of affected regions and post-disaster exacerbation of pre-existing inequalities. Hyndman (forthcoming) stresses the importance of overlapping geographies of war, disaster and relief resulting in new spaces of solidarity, hatred, hope and fear transforming conflicts. Simpson and Corbridge (2006) also demonstrate how the politics of ‘place-making’ in Kachchh-Gujarat following the 2001 earthquake challenged established authorities by reasserting regional political identities and projects. So far, geographical approaches have not been systematically incorporated in research (see Greenhough et al. 2005; Sidaway and Teo 2005), and the spatialities of conflicts and disasters often remain under-specified. Early sociological studies of disasters and conflicts, for example, often considered ‘natural’ disasters as ‘consensus building crises’ compared to divisive
  46. ‘technological’ or ‘social’ disasters (Quarantelli 1978). Systematic specification of types of conflicts and disasters helps to determine whether different types of disasters (e.g. catastrophic or chronic) have different impacts in specific conflict types (e.g. territorial/successionist or governmental). For example, the combination of drought and seces- sionist conflict has proved particularly deadly, as demonstrated in Sudan in the late 1980s (Keen 1994). Inquiries into the conflict and disaster nexus can also specify the location of conflicts and disasters. Taking the spatiality of disasters and conflicts into account should improve the robust- ness of analyses (Buhaug and Lujala 2005), and allow hypothesis testing (Waizenegger and Le Bil- lon 2007). Beyond location, spatial attributes should also include place-based, scalar and discur- sive dimensions. Drawing on Michael Watts (2004), we use the concept of ‘governable spaces’ – defined as spaces of territorialized rule (see also Rose 1999) – to engage with processes through which spaces are made governable, or not, by some social networks rather than others. Although an emphasis is placed on governmental rule, this definition acknow- ledges multiple networks, scales and temporalities at which rule can, or cannot, be territorialized and exercised. Like armed conflicts, ‘natural’ disasters can dramatically affect the territorialization of rule. Materially, catastrophic disasters can destroy infra- structures critical to the enactment of governmental territorialization, such as communication infra- structures, and affect the spatial distribution and ‘governability’ of populations. Institutionally, disasters
  47. can result in international interventions challenging domestic territorial sovereignty through the creation of ‘humanitarian’ space, or more broadly trustee- ships (Debrix 1998). Disasters can also contribute to the transformation of public discourse on conflict- affected areas. The representation of the ‘enemy’ population and territory as ‘victims’, for example, may strengthen support for peace within the con- stituency of the opposing party (Evin 2004). The victimization of the disaster area and disaster- affected population, however, can also reinvigorate sectarian interpretations and nationalist calculations of suffering and injustice, notably with regard to bias in territorialized aid allocation. In this regard, tran- sition from a political economy of war to one of ‘recon- struction’ also often entails a re-territorialization of rule, following for example the registers of democratization and ‘neo-liberal’ re-regulation prescribed by international donors and development agencies. Building on this conceptual approach, we refine our analytical framework through the articulation of three dimensions of the reshaping of governable spaces during ‘post-disaster’ conflict transforma- tion: military, socio-political and socio-economic. Rather than being discrete, these dimensions are often closely related and embedded or revealed through particular spaces. 414
  48. Philippe Le Billon and Arno Waizenegger Trans Inst Br Geogr NS 32 411–427 2007 ISSN 0020 -2754 © 2007 The Authors. Journal compilation © Royal Geographical Society (with The Institute of British Geographers) 2007 Disasters and conflict transformation Two main conditions are generally required to end armed conflicts. The ‘ripeness’ of the conflict and the ‘willingness’ of belligerents to end it as a result of a ‘mutually hurting stalemate’ are often perceived as a precondition (Zartman 1989). The second is the resolution of incompatibilities, distrust, and lack of commitment preventing negotiations and their successful implementation, between conflicting elites and within society more generally (Wallensteen 2002), addressing territorial incompatibility being crucial to secessionist conflicts. These two main conditions in turn relate to military, socio-political and socio-economic transformations. The military dimension of post-disaster conflict transformation is, at first glance, obvious: disasters can kill or incapacitate military personnel (physically or psychologically), destroy military equipment and infrastructures, as well as disrupt transporta- tion networks and supply channels. Military forces can also be redirected to disaster relief efforts,
  49. rather than combat. A reduction in fighting capability may affect all or only some of the armed groups, with two main possible consequences: the intensity of hostilities may decline as forces attempt to cope with the impact of the disaster; or hostilities may increase as the warring parties opportunistically seek to benefit from the relative weakness of the adversary. As a hypothesis, we suggest that stronger forces are more likely to act opportunistically and seek to escalate the conflict, while weaker ones will attempt to reconstitute their forces, using the post-disaster context as a ‘cease-fire’ period to achieve political gains and possibly re-arm. As such, the spatiality of disasters can directly and selectively affect territorialized military rule in a conflict. The socio-political effects of disasters, and more specifically the transformation of civilian rule and political relations, can also reshape governable spaces. Disasters can affect the perception of those affected through trauma and the psychology of the ‘near miss’, while more pressing issues of survival take precedence over broader struggles (Quarantelli 1978). Disaster-induced suffering might also help to overshadow and alleviate previous suffering inflicted by war. At an interpersonal and inter- communal level, ‘goodwill’, mutual assistance across a conflict’s fault-lines, and work towards common tasks can reduce prejudice and contribute to the emergence of ‘therapeutic community’ (Barton 1969), changing the socio-political dynamics of conflict (Renner and Chafe 2006). At an institu- tional level, as discussed above, there is much evidence that disasters can destabilize political
  50. systems, thereby offering opportunities of conflict transformation (Cuny 1983; Albala-Bertrand 1993). Many governments have exploited disasters to increase their strength, improve their image and maintain the status quo, notably through major foreign contributions to relief efforts and occasionally under false pretence of post-disaster ‘transforma- tion’ of society rather than the ‘reconstruction’ of previous inequalities (Brown 2000). In turn, increases in legitimacy potentially enable authori- ties to contribute more decisively in negotiations and peace building. By reducing the capabilities of governments while increasing the number of citizens’ demands on the political system, disasters can create a ‘highly charged, politically embarrassing environ- ment’ (Birkland 1998, 57). External assistance can help local authorities in this regard, but windfalls in relief and reconstruction aid can also increase the risk of (perceived) fraud, corruption, misman- agement and dispossession by the government and its cronies, aggravating the plight of the most vulnerable and grievances against authorities. By enhancing local political socialization and mobili- zation, disasters also frequently strengthen civil society and social movements for peace, at least momentarily. How government and rebel authorities react to such opening up of ‘political space’ affects in turn the relative level of tensions: a repressive backlash is likely by authorities perceiving political change as subversive (Drury and Olson 2001; Pelling and Dill 2006). Disasters also transform the international geopolitical context of a conflict by directing attention to the disaster- and conflict- afflicted region. The deployment of domestic and
  51. international civil society groups, the support of donors, as well as public mobilization through demonstrations, can also open up and broaden ‘public space’ in which ‘civilian rule’ thrives. This new context may open the political system, making it more inclusive (Fuentes 2003). Critics, however, point to the opportunistic instrumentalization of disasters to pursue ideologically driven or self-interested agendas with negative effects on vulnerability of local populations (Duffield 2001; Wisner 2001). Moreover, interventions in disaster-affected areas often entail processes of identity construction (e.g. ‘Internally Displaced Persons’) and territorialization (e.g. ‘refugee camps’ and ‘resettlement programs’), Secessionist conflicts and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami 415 Trans Inst Br Geogr NS 32 411–427 2007 ISSN 0020 -2754 © 2007 The Authors. Journal compilation © Royal Geographical Society (with The Institute of British Geographers) 2007 with ambivalent political consequences (Hyndman 2000).
  52. A third aspect of governable spaces relates to socio-economic processes, most notably the transformation of endowments and entitlements, such as the allocation of relief and reconstruction assistance (e.g. territorialized processes of aid ‘beneficiaries’ selection, resettlement, reconstruction planning or reshaping of the ‘war economy’). Spaces of military repression, disaster, relief and reconstruction all differ in how rules shaping the political economy are defined and territorialized. Disasters and disaster-related activities are prone to causing or deepening inequalities along pre-existing fault lines in societies, increasing grievances and disaffection and possibly heightening the risk of (renewed) conflict (Cuny 1983; Wisner et al. 2004). Post-disaster changes in endowments and entitle- ments, including land and land holding, as well the allocation of relief and reconstruction assistance, frequently proves a source of conflict, especially when landmarks have been changed, property knowledge and titles destroyed, and disaster mitigation and adaptation processes manipulated. Indirect economic effects such as inflation in rents and food prices increase hardships and discontent- ment among vulnerable households, while benefiting particular segments of the population. Moreover, relief assistance has occasionally sustained belligerents, thereby prolonging the conflict (Keen 1998).
  53. Tsunami and conflict transformation in Aceh and Sri Lanka All Aceh people really yearn for peace in the wake of the natural disaster. 1 Both Aceh, Indonesia’s most northern province, and Tamil Eelam, Sri Lanka’s northeast claimed as Tamil ‘homeland’, have been the territorial objects of secessionist conflicts over the past three decades. The Acehnese struggle for independence dates back to 1873, when the Dutch first took con- trol of the sultanate. Post-independence, hostilities opposed Acehnese pro-Islamic forces against the centralized and secular Indonesian regime during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Initiated in 1976, the contemporary phase of the conflict has opposed the Free Aceh Movement ( Gerakan Aceh Merdeka – GAM) to Indonesian security forces, resulting in the death of an estimated 15 000 people and wide- spread human rights abuses (Reid 2006). In 1998, the ‘metaphorical economic quake’ affecting Southeast Asia precipitated the fall of President Suharto and
  54. brought hope of peace and greater autonomy for the Acehnese (Sidaway and Teo 2005, 1; Reid 2006). Special autonomy legislations by the Government of Indonesia (GoI) fell short of GAM’s expecta- tions, however, and cease-fire agreements had twice broken down when President Megawati declared Martial Law in Aceh in May 2003. The Indonesian security forces then embarked on the largest military operation since East Timor, with 40 000 military troops ( Tentara Nasional Indonesia – TNI) and 12 000 national police (POLRI) present in Aceh, closing the province and severely affecting the living conditions of the Acehnese people (Tapol 2004). By the time the tsunami struck, this latest period of hostilities had displaced at least 125 000 persons (see Figure 1a; IOM 2004; Mahdi 2006a). The contemporary Tamil secessionist conflict in Sri Lanka was also initiated in the mid-1970s, follow- ing failed negotiations over a federal system dividing power between the majority Sinhalese and minority Tamil populations, sectarian riots, and liberalization reforms supplanting a politics of redistribution between classes with one based on ethnicity (Stokke 1998; Wilson 1999; Hyndman 2003). The conflict escalated into civil war in 1983, opposing the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) against the Sinhalese- dominated Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL), while also affecting Muslim communities (notably those evicted from LTTE-controlled territories in 1990).
  55. An estimated 60 000 lives were directly lost to the conflict until both parties agreed to a cease-fire in 2002. Despite a drastic reduction in the level of hos- tilities, an estimated 375 000 persons remained dis- placed by the conflict when the tsunami struck. Six districts in the north were largely under control of the LTTE, while another four in the northeast had significant LTTE presence (see Figures 1b and 2b). Against a background of civil war and widespread poverty, the 9.2 submarine earthquake and ensuing tsunami physically, materially and psychologically affected about two-thirds of the population in Aceh. An estimated 167 000 people died (or 4 per cent of Aceh’s population) and about half a million people were displaced (BRR and International Partners 2005; GoI 2005; TEC 2006). Although the tsunami nearly exclusively affected Aceh and the neighbouring island of Nias, recently elected Indo- nesian President Yudhoyono declared the catastrophe a ‘national disaster’ on the following day, and called for ‘those who are still fighting to come out 416 Philippe Le Billon and Arno Waizenegger Trans Inst Br Geogr NS 32 411–427 2007
  56. ISSN 0020 -2754 © 2007 The Authors. Journal compilation © Royal Geographical Society (with The Institute of British Geographers) 2007 . . . let us use this historic moment to join and be united again ’ (Siboro 2004, emphasis added; GoI 2006). The consequences of this ‘national disaster’ for the Acehnese ‘nationalist struggle’ were not immediately clear, however, as Indonesian military forces collected the bodies of tsunami victims on the coast while boasting about the killing of seces- sionists in the hills (Acehkita 2005). Figure 1a,b Conflict and post-tsunami population displacement per district Sources: 1a: Ramly (2005); 1b: UNHCR (2005) Figure 2a,b Tsunami dead and missing persons per district Sources: 2a: Aydan (2005), NAD (2005); 2b: PDMIN (2005) Secessionist conflicts and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami 417
  57. Trans Inst Br Geogr NS 32 411–427 2007 ISSN 0020 -2754 © 2007 The Authors. Journal compilation © Royal Geographical Society (with The Institute of British Geographers) 2007 The tsunami also brought much devastation to many coastal communities in Sri Lanka, with 39 000 deaths reported (0.2 per cent of the population) and also about half a million persons displaced (2.8 per cent of the population). Yet, whereas in Indonesia the tsunami disproportionately affected the seces- sionist region and minority group, it affected much of the country and all communities in Sri Lanka (see Figures 1 and 2). Spatially, the tsunami almost exclusively struck Aceh and the Acehnese. In Sri Lanka, the tsunami affected two-thirds of the coastal areas in Sri Lanka, including areas ‘pre- dominantly’ Tamil, Sinhalese or Muslim (see 2001 Sri Lanka census results; Stokke 1998). There was also greater overlap between conflict-affected areas and tsunami-affected areas in Sri Lanka than in Aceh, some of the worst tsunami-struck areas in northeastern Sri Lanka being also the most severely affected by prior hostilities. Finally, there were tsunami-affected areas directly under the control of the LTTE, while there were none in Aceh (GAM’s presence being limited to remote interior areas affected only by the earthquake). Conflicts evolved differently in Aceh and Sri
  58. Lanka, both before and after the tsunami, despite some similarities in the immediate aftermath of the disaster. The conflict in Aceh was largely single-sided and characterized by government repression and counter-insurgency, yet taking place in a broader process of state transformation characterized by democratization and decentralization. Immediately after the tsunami, GAM committed to a unilateral cease-fire to facilitate relief operations, and Yud- hoyono requested the TNI to ‘restore safety in a more defensive way’ (GoI 2005). Yet hostilities – and in particular Indonesian military operations against GAM – continued until a comprehensive settle- ment was reached (see Figure 3). One month after the tsunami, the GoI and GAM launched official negotiations, following on informal talks under Vice-President Jusuf Kalla initiated prior to the tsunami and during which both parties had already agreed to meet for peace negotiations facilitated by former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari (Aspinall 2005c). GAM dropped its demand for independence and conceded ‘self-rule’, and obtained an EU-led monitoring of the transition process (interviews 37, 62). After GAM and the GoI officially signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 15 August 2005, the Indonesian House of Representatives endorsed a new Law on the Governing of Aceh (LoGA). While armed conflict has stopped, the number of ‘local’ conflicts, includ- ing tsunami-related conflicts, demonstrations, as well as religious and ethnic vigilantism increased, although the number of conflicts involving violence remained relatively low and stable (Clark 2006). In December 2006, regional Acehnese parties (newly
  59. authorized under LoGA) won provincial elections, with a former GAM member becoming the first democratically elected governor and promising to renegotiate unfavourable LoGA clauses. Figure 3 Battle-related deaths and major events in Aceh and Sri Lanka6 418 Philippe Le Billon and Arno Waizenegger Trans Inst Br Geogr NS 32 411–427 2007 ISSN 0020 -2754 © 2007 The Authors. Journal compilation © Royal Geographical Society (with The Institute of British Geographers) 2007 In Sri Lanka, the 2002 cease-fire agreement had suspended the ‘mutually hurting stalemate’ of civil war, but the focus of the peace process was placed on ‘post-conflict’ reconstruction and development rather than substantive negotiations over core political issues (Goodhand and Klem 2005). The immediate aftermath of the tsunami was characterized by ‘good will’ from the leadership on both sides and marked by spontaneous local cooperation between the GoSL and the LTTE forces (Uyangoda 2005a).
  60. Some belligerents even initially perceived the tsu- nami as a ‘blessing in disguise’, 2 but hostilities escalated within a year (see Figure 3). The politici- zation of disaster relief also undermined the pre- existing, but already collapsing cease-fire agreement (Stokke 2005). Later negotiations resulted in the crea- tion of a coordination mechanism ‘independent’ from both the GoI and GAM in the case of Aceh, while in Sri Lanka international NGOs channelled much of the aid in the absence of a joint-mechanism (Stokke 2006), and were later denied access to some areas due to renewed fighting. Explaining divergent outcomes in Aceh and Sri Lanka Much of the divergence in conflict transformation between Aceh and Sri Lanka can be explained by the pre-disaster political and military context and its implications for disaster relief and peace negotiations. Indonesia was in the midst of a favourable process of democratization and decentralization. The disaster struck Aceh only three months after Yudhoyono’s victory in Indonesia’s first direct democratic presidential election, and the new leadership was committed to end the conflict, if possible through negotiations. In Sri Lanka, an older democracy remained in the stranglehold of a unitary
  61. and centralizing constitution, and both the Sinhalese coalition in power and LTTE frustrated the on-going peace process. Militarily, GAM was at its weakest following Martial Law and counterinsurgency. By the time the tsunami struck, GAM was already eager for a political exit (ICG 2005; Reid 2006; interviews 37 and 62). In contrast, the tsunami hit Sri Lanka after nearly three years of a cease-fire between the LTTE and the GoSL under the Norwegian-led Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), but the peace process had stalled. The LTTE also had to address increasing dissent, notably by the ‘Karuna’ faction in the east, and a return to war was politically expedient. Such diverging political and military contexts help to explain different political outcomes in Aceh and Sri Lanka after the tsunami, but they do not explain if, and how, the disaster itself possibly transformed these conflicts. We now seek to do so by using the framework outlined above. Governable space: military dimensions The spatiality of military control in Aceh largely determined the relative impact of the tsunami on the belligerents. The effects of the disaster heavily affected both the GoI security forces and GAM, but to a different degree and in different ways. TNI and POLRI were largely stationed in coastal areas and were more severely affected than GAM forces located in the hills, with 2698 security personnel killed against 70 GAM combatants (GoI 2005; interview 40). A hundred GAM members, among
  62. approximately 2000 jailed at the time, also drowned while in prison (Merikallio 2005). Yet GAM was militarily weakened after the death of up to one quarter of its combatants and many others leaving the province over the past two years (Reid 2006; interviews 4 and 62). Moreover, whereas the TNI could draw on its nation-wide resources, GAM’s lines and support systems were further undermined by the disaster, and GAM’s willingness to fight after the tsunami was also reduced psychologically (Prasodjo 2005). Space continued to be ruled through the military following the tsunami. About 80 per cent of the TNI were initially redirected to humanitarian and security tasks, while 20 per cent continued combat operations against GAM (Laksamana 2005a; inter- view 4). Yet three weeks after the tsunami only 5 per cent of security forces were still officially assigned to the ‘humanitarian’ effort, mostly in highly media-visible Banda Aceh and as humanitarian military escorts (Davies 2005; Sukma 2006). The GoI also sent 6173 more troops to Aceh, a move interpreted by a US security analyst as guarantee- ing Yudhoyono the ability ‘to clean [GAM] out . . . if GAM does not agree to settle the problem peace- fully’ (Roberts 2005). Indonesian military control of ‘humanitarian space’ in Aceh undermined GAM’s ability to participate in relief, with GoI forces portraying GAM as a criminal and terrorist organi- zation in order to undermine its legitimacy, justify continued counter-insurgency and control move- ments by relief agencies until the MoU was signed. GAM repeated its commitment to a cease-fire to facilitate aid provision, while denouncing repeated
  63. Secessionist conflicts and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami 419 Trans Inst Br Geogr NS 32 411–427 2007 ISSN 0020 -2754 © 2007 The Authors. Journal compilation © Royal Geographical Society (with The Institute of British Geographers) 2007 assaults on their units by the TNI. Continued militarization also constrained GAM to the ‘space of political negotiation’ and reduced its bargaining power by further reducing its military leverage. The discursive impact of this violent territorializa- tion of ‘humanitarian space’ was more ambivalent, however, with many aid organizations recognizing an historical pattern of military propaganda and coercion – thereby giving GAM greater political legitimacy for its negotiations with the GoI (Flor 2005; Laksamana 2005b). While some in the LTTE initially perceived the tsunami as a ‘blessing in disguise’ that could consolidate a failing peace process, others in the GoSL perceived it as a military opportunity, wrongly assessing that the tsunami significantly weakened
  64. the LTTE (Uyangoda 2005a). To sum up, the tsunami weakened the military capacity of some of the belligerents but did not challenge military rule. Yet whereas GAM and the GoI seized the opportunity of a political exit negotiated under TNI ‘military pressure’, the Sri Lankan parties acted opportun- istically, by seeking to improve their relative bargaining position by military means. Governable space: socio-political dimensions Three major tsunami-related socio-political processes influenced the evolution of the Acehnese conflict following the tsunami: the moral imperative of peace, domestic political transformation and internationalization of conflict resolution. These three dimensions, in turn, transformed public discourse on, and governable space in Aceh. These were ambivalent processes, however, when considering that the victimization of the Acehnese as a result of a ‘natural’ disaster and the recasting of disaster as a ‘historical opportunity’ obscured questions of responsibility, impunity and political instrumentalization for Acehnese suffering. The tsunami killed ten times more people in Aceh than three decades of conflict. Compassionate interpretations of this disaster and acts of solidarity transformed the Indonesian public discourse on Aceh from a space of threat and danger into one of ‘national’ commiseration and solidarity. A year before the tsunami, 50 per cent of Indonesians supported ‘some form of military intervention in Aceh’ (Valentino and Sharma 2003). Following the
  65. tsunami, a military ‘solution’ to the conflict became widely opposed by Indonesians and Acehnese. Indonesian television was full of tears and prayers, under such titles as ‘Indonesia is Weeping’ ( Indonesia Menangis ), with prominent politicians and business tycoons opportunistically seizing this shift (see below). The widespread interpretation of the tsunami as a divine act provided another moral dimension reshaping governable space in Aceh, giving impe- tus to end the conflict. In the words of an Acehnese aid worker, ‘as followers of Islam, we believe that with every event, even more so a calamity, Allah always gives us a hikmah [lesson]; among other things, this is a way used by Him reminding us to return to the right path’ (interview 38). According to Acehnese sociologist Humam Hamid, the second ‘bitterness’ brought upon people in Aceh by the tsunami might also help to overcome the ‘first bitterness’ of war, thereby contributing to reconcili- ation (Prasodjo and Hamid 2005). The implications of these moral arguments were that military means
  66. and conflict-related grievances had to be left behind. There remains the risk, however, that the tsunami adds to the victimization process of the Acehnese population, creating one more layer of ‘martyrdom’, especially in light of past government responsibility in their vulnerability. The second socio-political dimension resulted from the interplay of Acehnese disaster victims and a ‘democratizing’ and ‘decentralizing’ Indonesian political and civil society. Victims in Aceh relied predominantly on other individuals for help, receiving minimal support from the government, NGOs or religious and community organizations in the first 48 hours, especially when compared to victims in Sri Lanka and India (Thomas and Rama- ligan 2005). Unsurprisingly, victims in Aceh were also the most dissatisfied with relief services in the immediate aftermath of the tsunami (IOM 2005). The catastrophic impact of the tsunami on many infrastructures and administrative organizations explains in part why many coastal areas in Aceh were ‘ungovernable’ in the immediate aftermath of the tsunami. This collapse, however, also reflected the broader disorganization and competition within the post-Suharto bureaucracy (Aspinall 2005a), giving further impetus to demands of governance reforms in Aceh. In contrast, Indonesian political leaders benefited from media reports of their handling of the crisis – with 83 per cent of Indonesians assessing the response of the GoI as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ – thereby contributing to their popularity (IFES 2005). Civil society groups, mostly from religious or business backgrounds, also (re)developed
  67. 420 Philippe Le Billon and Arno Waizenegger Trans Inst Br Geogr NS 32 411–427 2007 ISSN 0020 -2754 © 2007 The Authors. Journal compilation © Royal Geographical Society (with The Institute of British Geographers) 2007 expressions of ‘national’ solidarity. Domestically, the tsunami thus transformed governable space in Aceh in two main ways. At the local level, the tsunami exposed the failings of a discredited and militarized rule by Indonesian authorities, calling for greater Acehnese autonomy. At the national level, the tsunami enabled the engagement of a more diverse and thriving civil and political society calling for enhanced Indonesian ‘national’ solidarity (Aspinall 2005a). This tension was in part expressed and addressed through the governable space negotiated under the MoU: that of a ‘self-ruled’ Aceh firmly remaining within a more ‘democratic’ and ‘decentralized’ Indonesia. The third major dimension was the international- ization of the disaster response, which, beyond the
  68. disaster’s scale, resulted from its mediatization and instrumentalization. The tsunami was a ‘perfect media event’ reaching international coverage equiva- lent to ‘9/11’ during its first 45 days (Jones 2005). Like ‘9/11’, the tsunami dwarfed other disasters in part because of the large number of ‘white deaths’ (Olds et al. 2005). Although few reports emphasized the conflict-related suffering of the Acehnese, inter- national public sympathy affected the ‘geopolitical’ significance of the conflict and governance in the province. In turn, the GoI and GAM were put under greater pressure and scrutiny to achieve a negotiated end to war and efficiently manage relief and reconstruction (interview 4). Despite TNI’s efforts at maintaining its rule over Aceh – in part due to weariness of an ‘East Timor scenario’ fol- lowing foreign intervention – the disaster opened up political space within Aceh. Civil society and international relief organizations stepped into and broadened the governable space of ‘civilian rule’ between local populations and (military) rule from Jakarta (Tjhin 2005; Eye-on-Aceh and Aid Watch 2006; ICG 2006). The creation of an ‘independent’ Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency (BRR – Badan Rehabilitasi dan Rekonstruksi
  69. ) not only secured more easily foreign assistance, but also insulated the GoI from conflicts induced by aid misallocation, mismanagement or fraud (Kuncoro and Resosudarmo 2006). International presence was crucial to conflict transformation in Aceh, notably by providing GAM a favourable bargaining position and hopes of agreement implementation that could not be wasted. Before the agreement on the MoU, there was little sense that foreigners significantly improved the security of GAM members, while the Acehnese feared that continued fighting could lead foreigners to leave. After the MoU, and in light of previous failures, many Acehnese feared that once foreigners departed ‘suffering of the Acehnese will increase again’ (Vltchek 2006). The presence and intents of foreigners nevertheless proved controversial, most notably with critics of opportunistic US and EU involvement, as well as religious proselytism by Christian organizations (Prasodjo 2005; Tjhin 2005; Sukma 2006). Critics denounced the ‘self-interest’ characterizing some of the international solidarity, notably the ‘opportunistic use of Asian suffering by US leaders’ (Glassman 2005, 169 – 70). Secretary of State Colin Powell publicly argued that disaster relief dries up those pools of dissatisfaction that might give rise to terrorist activity . . . [and] . . . does give to the Muslim world . . . an opportunity to see American generosity, American values in action . . . [so that] . . . value system of ours will be reinforced [in the region]. (Aljazeera 2005)
  70. This exposure reportedly reduced opposition to the US and support for Osama bin Laden in Indonesia (Sukma 2006). The EU also sought to gain visibility as a ‘world actor’ capable of taking over large peace-building responsibilities in cooperation with other regional associations such as the ASEAN (interview 44). Hence, the disaster not only reshaped Aceh as a local and national governable space, it also enabled foreign actors – particularly the US, EU and IFIs – to more directly consolidate their governance of the ‘borderlands’, in this case a petroleum-rich and ‘Muslim’ province strategically located near the Malacca Straight. 3 Socio-political setting differed between Aceh and Sri Lanka. 4 Although there was little prospect for a rapid peaceful settlement of the conflict in Aceh before the disaster, many expected that conflict in Sri Lanka would shortly resume (Ganguly 2004). No progress had been made towards bringing flexibility to the unitarist Sri Lankan constitution, thereby making any power-sharing agreement unconstitutional – including that necessary for aid allocation (see below) (Uyangoda 2005b). Rather,
  71. political discourses of homeland ‘purity’ and the necessity of force and a state of exception against the ethno-religious ‘rogue others’ remained prevalent in political discourses despite the official cease-fire (Korf 2006). Moreover, while popular support for GAM in Aceh had receded after the failure to obtain a referendum for independence and the imposition of martial law, support for the LTTE in Secessionist conflicts and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami 421 Trans Inst Br Geogr NS 32 411–427 2007 ISSN 0020 -2754 © 2007 The Authors. Journal compilation © Royal Geographical Society (with The Institute of British Geographers) 2007 the North had remained relatively strong (Human Rights Watch 1999; Orjuela 2003). On the govern- ment side, decade-long president Chandrika Kumaratunga was succeeded in November 2005 by her former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse, who took a harder line against the LTTE (Ratnayake 2004). The political consequences of the tsunami also
  72. diverged significantly. In Aceh, many civil society organizations focused their activity on political issues, including human rights, freedom of speech and organization, as well as self-government, with the encouragement of foreign agencies and tacit acceptance of the GoI and GAM. The legal authori- zation of regional, rather than nation-wide, political parties in Indonesia also constituted a precedent that many Indonesian provinces want to emulate, thereby consolidating demand for decentralization. In comparison, on-going rights-based work and political activities were reported as more severely repressed in Sri Lanka (TEC 2005), and a pattern of political assassination started in 2006. At an international level, both Aceh and Sri Lanka received attention and relatively similar levels of international assistance (TEC 2006). The tsunami, however, provided a ‘new’ opportunity for peace-building in Aceh, especially so for the European Union, while in Sri Lanka, the involve- ment of the Norwegian-led peace process was already approaching its third year, without political progress. Latter negotiations since the disaster have all stalled and the EU’s threat of listing the LTTE as a ‘terrorist’ organization in May 2006 jeopardized the Norwegian-led cease-fire monitor- ing mission (SLMM) as the LTTE demanded the withdrawal of all EU monitors and refused further negotiations in June 2006. The SLMM also contrasted with the AMM through its numbers and mandate. Covering a roughly similar area, SLMM’s monitors numbered 65 compared with a 226 person strong monitoring force including both EU and ASEAN officers tasked with a much broader mandate relating to the MoU implementation and better
  73. adapted to deal with conflict and disaster issues (Sundberg and Vestergren 2005). Governable space: socio-economic dimensions The tsunami had major socio-economic effects on Aceh. Productive losses were estimated at US$1.2 billion and reconstruction needs (including upgrades) at about US$7 billion, with assistance pledges reached $8.8 billion (BRR and International Partners 2005; Mahdi 2006b). This burden and the benefits of reconstruction were not equally shared amongst the Acehnese, with those on northern and western coastal areas being the most heavily affected. Balancing tsunami losses and windfalls is a precarious exercise, with high risks of corruption, unfair allocations and mismanagement, potentially aggravating the conflict given its economic dimensions (Ross 2003; Athukorala and Resosudarmo forthcoming). More optimistic scenarios hoped that the disaster would provide the opportunity for ‘rebuilding a better Aceh’, and improve governance (World Bank 2005). Overall, the economic dimensions of the tsunami did contribute to promoting a resolution of the conflict, notably by offering major business and political opportunities for the local and some national elites that rely in part on peace to be sustained, while reducing (but not ending) TNI’s lucrative activities (Schulze 2004; Reid 2006). 5
  74. Allegations of fraud and corruption in recon- struction projects, along with inflation, poverty and inequalities, are exacerbating grievances and tensions (Diani 2006; Eye-on-Aceh and Aid Watch 2006). Wealthier and more educated people have benefited from reconstruction, while many of the poorest mostly bear induced costs such as inflation (Oxfam 2005; Athukorala and Resosudarmo forthcoming). Demonstrations in front of the BRR office have repeatedly raised these issues and politically sensitive variations in the geography of aid allocation have contributed to grievances (Acehkita 2006). Problems relating to land and ownership also constitute a major difficulty and potential source of conflict. In addition, exclusionary and top-down practices and approaches in the design and implementation of projects (e.g. hous- ing) have led to disempowerment, frustration and anger against implementing agencies and donors (Eye-on-Aceh and Aid Watch 2006). As noted above, there was a stronger and more divisive politicization of aid and disaster mitiga- tion policies in Sri Lanka than Aceh. Prior to the tsunami, donors had politicized their assistance by making it conditional upon progress in the peace process (Goodhand and Klem 2005; Sriskandarajah 2005). The ‘peace conditionality’ imposed on US$4.5 billion pledged in June 2003, however, had failed to influence the political decisions of the GoSL and the LTTE (Uyangoda 2005b). This strategy further collapsed as a massive influx of unconditional aid reached Sri Lanka following the tsunami, but aid politicization remained. About 70 per cent of the dead or missing (which included
  75. 422 Philippe Le Billon and Arno Waizenegger Trans Inst Br Geogr NS 32 411–427 2007 ISSN 0020 -2754 © 2007 The Authors. Journal compilation © Royal Geographical Society (with The Institute of British Geographers) 2007 an estimated 7000 Muslims) were located in predo- minantly Tamil areas, and up to 30 per cent in areas under LTTE control – a contested figure since the GoSL was in control of ‘cleared’ coastal strips in several districts otherwise controlled by the LTTE such as Batticaloa (PDMIN 2005). Relief and reconstruction assistance was politicized through accusations of GoSL discriminating against Tamil victims of the tsunami. On one side, devastation in LTTE-controlled areas slowed down relief provision as the GoSL set up a centralized relief mechanism and opposed any bypassing of its authority (Uyan- goda 2005a). On the other, the LTTE requested more direct control of foreign assistance, and thereby political recognition. A joint mechanism agreement to share US$2.5 billion of foreign aid was reached after six months of delay and its
  76. territorial application restricted to tsunami-affected areas within a 2-kilometre-wide coastal strip in the six districts under (partial) LTTE control. The agreement triggered a major political crisis in government and was blocked by a defecting coalition party through Supreme Court suspension on grounds of partial unconstitutionality (Uyangoda 2005b). Disaster mitigation and prevention policies also proved controversial and politicized, most notably the initial Buffer Zone policy creating ‘exclusion zones’ of 200 metres from the shoreline in the East and North (Tamil areas) and 100 metres in the South (Siriwardhana et al. 2005). Buffer zones were perceived as discriminative and punishing mostly Tamil coastal populations, even though the LTTE at one point advocated for an even wider buffer zone (Uyangoda 2005b; Hyndman forthcoming). In short, spaces of relief and reconstruction in Sri Lanka were deeply and antagonistically politicized, both parties fearing that letting the other side terri- torialize ‘its’ aid would undermine their broader political struggle. Unlike GAM, LTTE’s pre-tsunami territorial control gave it the capacity to territorialize rules of relief provision and reconstruction within its areas, while the GoSL was able to do so with the rest of the country and to some extent in its dealings with the international donor community. It is argu- ably in response to the failure of territorializing an alternative ‘sovereign’ and truly ‘humanitarian’
  77. space that the logic of war ultimately prevailed. Conclusion The tsunami was an undeniably tragic ‘window of opportunity’ for conflict transformation in Aceh and Sri Lanka. This paper confirmed that pre- disaster political trends were crucial in shaping the divergent conflict outcomes of this disaster, but it also pointed at the impacts of the disaster itself and their spatial dimensions. Rapid and lasting transition to peace would have been less likely in Aceh without the tsunami, even if GAM was at its weakest militarily and both parties were seeking to end the conflict in a context of democratization and decentralization (Ellwein 2003; Aspinall 2005b 2005c). Pre-disaster political transformation was necessary for this transition to occur, but democracy in Indonesia may not have been already powerful enough to bring about peace, notably because of the marginalization of civil society and autonomy of the army (Mietzner 2006; Tornquist 2006; Abidin Kusno, pers. com. 2006). In turn, sustained peace in Aceh will be an indicator of Indonesia’s performance in its transition to democracy (Prasodjo 2005), and more research is required to assess the impact of the tsunami disaster on Indonesian politics. In contrast, the escalation of political violence in Sri Lanka was likely, even in the absence of the tsunami. Nationalist interpretations and calculations around the tsunami further undermined an already failing peace process, as the GoSL and LTTE reasserted ‘exclusive’ sovereignties over contested
  78. territories, thereby accelerating a return to war. These divergent political outcomes, we suggest, reflected different representations of the disaster and the calculations of belligerent parties, as well as the specific spatialities of the ‘dual disasters’ of war and tsunami (Roosa 2005; Hyndman forthcoming). Although both conflicts in Aceh and Sri Lanka are secessionist, the geographies of the conflicts were different. At the time the tsunami struck, the LTTE, or some of its factions, was in control of several districts where it ran a de facto government. In contrast, GAM was confined to remote forest areas and had lost much of the governing capacity it had gained prior to the imposition of martial law. The geography of the disaster was also distinct. In Indonesia the tsunami mostly affected Aceh and the Acehnese, while in Sri Lanka it affected about two- thirds of the coastal areas of the country and all three major ethno-religious communities. In return, these two characteristics influenced the geography of aid provision and the dynamics of the conflict. Whereas the LTTE leveraged this territorial control to consolidate claims of ‘sovereignty’ over Tamil Eelam by demanding a direct channelling of
  79. Secessionist conflicts and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami 423 Trans Inst Br Geogr NS 32 411–427 2007 ISSN 0020 -2754 © 2007 The Authors. Journal compilation © Royal Geographical Society (with The Institute of British Geographers) 2007 international aid through its administration, GAM was unable to territorialize aid delivery for such political advantage. The challenge to Indonesian sovereignty over Aceh thus remained confined to political negotiations with GAM, and engagements with domestic civil society and international relief organizations. In Sri Lanka, despite an initial consensus for cooperation at the local level and between the Sri Lankan President and LTTE, party politics and nationalist agendas quickly challenged the exclusive sovereignty of both parties, as well as the marginalization of the Muslim community. Both governable space and public discourse reflected these tensions. In Aceh public discourses of compassion and solidarity remained dominant in Acehnese and Indonesian politics, and governable space was reshaped through ‘civilianized’ and reformed territorial practices and institutions, especially after the MoU. The disaster created a
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