Natural Hazards

, Volume 84, Issue 2, pp 1327–1347 | Cite as

Post-tsunami recovery in Tamil Nadu, India: combined social and infrastructural outcomes

  • Elizabeth Jordan
  • Amy Javernick-Will
  • Kathleen Tierney
Original Paper


Recent disasters have highlighted the need to better understand why communities recover differently from the same disaster. This research aims to study what pre- and post-disaster conditions lead to infrastructural and social recovery. We collected data from 15 villages in India that were affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami through observations, interviews, and secondary sources on pre-disaster community conditions, post-disaster strategies, and infrastructural and social recovery outcomes. We examined conditions posited to affect recovery and analyzed the data using fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis. There were multiple pathways to infrastructural and social recovery, but strong access to government resources and good recovery agency coordination were necessary in all pathways. A lack of social vulnerability, recovery agency embeddedness, and contracting agency oversight were also important. Through this research, we extend theories of community resilience and vulnerability by linking both pre- and post-disaster conditions to multi-sector recovery outcomes. Using these findings, practitioners can target specific dimensions of community resilience prior to disasters and target successful post-disaster strategies to contribute to recovery.


Disaster recovery Qualitative comparative analysis Indian Ocean tsunami 



This research was supported by National Science Foundation Grant No. 1200422. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. The work was also funded in part by the Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities. The authors also thank our NGO partner, BEDROC, and translator for their support during my time in India.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth Jordan
    • 1
  • Amy Javernick-Will
    • 2
  • Kathleen Tierney
    • 3
  1. 1.AAAS Science & Technology FellowWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural EngineeringUniversity of Colorado at BoulderBoulderUSA
  3. 3.Department of Sociology and Institute of Behavioral Science, Natural Hazards CenterUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA

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