Targeting and Distribution of Post-Tsunami Aid in Sri Lanka : A Critical Appraisal ,Working Paper No. 55-10

Working Papers » Targeting and Distribution of Post-Tsunami Aid in Sri Lanka : A Critical Appraisal

By : Asha Gunawardena and Kanchana Wickramasinghe

Abstract:In this study, we examine two types of aid transfers - boats and houses - that were made to rehabilitate tsunami-affected fishery households in Sri Lanka. Our goal is to investigate the distributional impacts of these transfers and the effectiveness of targeting. The study also attempts to quantify the factors underlying the allocation of such asset transfers. Data for this study comes from the Census of Tsunami, conducted by the Department of Census and Statistics in 2005, and a follow-up survey undertaken by us in 2008 for a sub-sample of fishery households. Our findings suggest that that there was better targeting of households with regard to the allocation of houses than boats. The findings also show that housing transfers resulted in improved asset equality among fishery households compared to what existed in the pre-Tsunami period. The boat transfers on the other hand were not only poorly targeted but also increased asset inequality. The findings of the study also reveal that households who had access to social networks were more likely to receive aid transfers. Apart from household characteristics, regional disparities also played a role in the allocation of aid due to differences in access to infrastructure facilities, political preferences or the presence and absence of political turmoil. The findings of the study highlight the importance of making a special effort to identify certain sub-sets of people such as the very poor and marginalized groups, as well as households who lost human capital, when it comes to targeting aid in disaster situations.

Keywords :Aid targeting and distribution, Government policies, Social transfers, Post-disaster development, Sri Lanka

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