How people choose to rebuild a society that has been decimated by a natural disaster says a lot about what the rebuilders value most. As the tsunami relief efforts move beyond rescue and recovery into rebuilding, we’ve begun to see some disturbing signs about what the local governments value most in their countries. In Sri Lanka, local farmer and fisher groups are denouncing government efforts to push through — in the guise of disaster relief projects — neo-liberal policies that have already been rejected by the people at the ballot box. Patrick Barkham, writing in the Guardian, suggests that there are similar problems in Thailand.
It’s just one more reason why it’s crucial to deliver aid dollars as directly as possible to the people who need them and who know best how to use them to solve their own problems.