This paper documents and analyzes the immediate economic impact of the Indian Ocean tsunami generated by the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake of 26 December 2004, with a focus on Indonesia (Aceh province) and Sri Lanka, and assesses the disaster management process. The preliminary findings point to the importance of educating the public about simple precautions in the event of a disaster and enforcing coastal environmental regulations. The findings also argue for designing policies and programs, as an integral part of national development strategies, for mitigating the impact of natural disasters on the poor and highlight the need for combining international aid commitments with solutions to the limited aid-absorptive capacity in disaster-affected countries.

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