The Empowerment of Local Community Groups as a New Innovation in Cross-Border Disaster Governance Frameworks

  • Yenny Rahmayati


Asia remains a distinguished place prone to different sized of natural disasters ranging from tsunamis to earthquakes, floods and forest fires, among others, that have produced profound cross borders impacts. Many studies on disaster governance have discussed the subject from a macro-policy level perspective, with less attention being paid to the role of the community. However, in many cases of disasters, local communities are the first to handle emergency efforts before the arrival of international and national disaster assistance. The role of communities needs to be empowered by including them in disaster governance frameworks so that they can be a new driver of policy innovation in building social resilience to future disasters.

Based on the empirical evidence from the Indian Ocean tsunami and undersea earthquake of December 2004 that devastated Indonesia’s north-westernmost province of Aceh, this paper explores the power of Acehnese community groups in the governance of disasters across borders. The Acehnese response to the tsunami and subsequent rehabilitation process offers important lessons for cross border disasters, not only in Asian contexts but more widely. The chapter will provide policy recommendations for establishing a model of cross border disaster governance that can better accommodate the innovations of communities in dealing with disasters through the creation of stronger state-civil society partnerships over time.


Cross-border disasters Collaborative governance Community networks Aceh State-civil society partnerships 


  1. Bappenas. (2005a). Indonesia: Preliminary damage and loss assessment, The December 26, 2004 natural disaster. Jakarta: Bappenas (Ministry of National Development Planning).Google Scholar
  2. Bappenas. (2005b). Master plan for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the regions and communities of the province of Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam and the Islands of Nias, Province of North Sumatra, main book. Jakarta: Bappenas (Ministry of National Development Planning).Google Scholar
  3. Bowden, P. (1990). NGOs in Asia: Issues in development. Public Administration and Development, 10(2), 141–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. BRR (2005). Aceh and Nias one tear after the tsunami the recovery effort and way forward, A Joint Report of The BRR and International Partners. Jakarta.Google Scholar
  5. BRR. (2009). Housing, roofing the pillars of hope. Jakarta: The Executing Agency of Rehabilitation and Reconstruction for Aceh and Nias.Google Scholar
  6. Cousins, William (1991). Non-governmental initiatives. In ADB, The urban poor and basic infrastructure services in Asia and the Pacific. Manila: Asian Development Bank.Google Scholar
  7. Cueto, R. M., Fernández, M. Z., Moll, S., & Rivera, G. (2015). Community participation and strengthening in a reconstruction context after a natural disaster. Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community, 43(4), 291–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Daly, P., & Rahmayati, Y. (2012). Cultural heritage and community recovery in post-tsunami Aceh. In P. Daly, R. M. Feener, & A. Reid (Eds.), From the ground up, perspective on post-tsunami and post-conflict Aceh (pp. 57–78). Singapore: ISEAS Publishing.Google Scholar
  9. Davidson, C., Johnson, C. A., Lizarralde, G., Sliwinski, A., & Dikmen, N. (2007). Truths and myths about community participation in post-disaster housing projects. Habitat International, 31(1), 100–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dombo, E., & Ahearn, F. (2015). The aftermath of humanitarian crises: A model for addressing social work interventions with individuals, groups, and communities. Illness, Crisis & Loss, 23(1), 1–20.Google Scholar
  11. DTE. (2005). Community-centred reconstruction needed. Down to Earth, 64, 5–10.Google Scholar
  12. Fernandez, G., & Shaw, R. (2014). Youth participation in disaster risk reduction through science clubs in the Philippines. Disasters, 39(2), 279–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. ILO (2007). International programme on the elimination of child labour, Aceh post-tsunami response, Internal Project Report. Jakarta.Google Scholar
  14. Lawther, P. M. (2009). Community involvement in post-disaster re-construction: Case study of the British Red Cross Maldives recovery program. International Journal of Strategic Property Management, 13(2), 153–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lu, Y. (2014). NGO collaboration in community post-disaster reconstruction: Field research following the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in China. Disasters, 39(2), 258–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Martens, K. (2002). Mission impossible? Defining nongovernmental organizations. Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 13(3), 271–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Méheux, K., Dominey-Howes, D., & Lloyd, K. (2010). Operational challenges to community participation in post-disaster damage assessments: Observation from Fiji. Disasters, 34(4), 1102–1122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Miller, M & Bunnell, T (2013). Urban-rural connections: Banda Aceh through conflict, tsunami, and decentralization. In Bunnell, T., Parthasarathy, D. & Thompson, E.C. (eds.), Cleavage, connection and conflict in rural, urban and contemporary Asia (pp. 83–98), Springer.Google Scholar
  19. Nakagawa, Y., & Shaw, R. (2004). Social capital: A missing link to disaster recovery. International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters, 22(1), 5–34.Google Scholar
  20. Newport, J. K., & Jawahar, G. G. P. (2003). Community participation and public awareness in disaster mitigation. Disasters, 12(1), 33–36.Google Scholar
  21. Norris, F., Stevens, S., Pfefferbaum, B., Wyche, K., & Pfefferbaum, R. (2008). Community resilience as a metaphor, theory, set of capacities, and strategy for disaster readiness. American Journal of Community Psychology, 41(1), 127–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Pearce, L. (2003). Disaster management and community planning, and public participation: How to achieve sustainable hazard mitigation. Natural Hazards, 28(2–3), 211–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Pyles, L. (2007). Community organizing for post-disaster social development, locating social work. International Social Work, 50(3), 321–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Quarantelli, E. L. (1997). Ten criteria for evaluating the management of community disasters. Disasters, 21(1), 39–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Regulska, J. (1999). NGOs and their vulnerabilities during the time of transition: The case of Poland. Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 10(1), 61–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Tongsawate, M., & Tips, W. E. J. (1988). Coordination between government and voluntary organizations (NGOs) in Thailand’s rural development. Public Administration and Development, 8(4), 401–420.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Werker, E., & Ahmed, F. Z. (2008). What do nongovernmental organizations do? Journal of Economic Perspectives, 22(2), 73–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Design Innovation (CDI)Swinburne University of TechnologyMelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations