In the Wake of the 2004 Great Indian Ocean Tsunami: Internally Displaced Persons and the Natural Disaster Response in the Maldives

Heather R. Croshaw


In the early morning hours on December 26, 2004, a magnitude 9.3 earthquake rocked the Indian Ocean, reaching the Republic of the Maldives approximately three and a half hours later. Thousands of Maldivians were displaced from their homes, with many having to leave their homes permanently. This article examines the response of the Government of the Maldives in the immediate aftermath of the 2004 tsunami and over the longer-term. Also, the article discusses the experiences of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) and the host communities, as well as the return migration of IDPs to permanent homes. Specifically, this article discusses the case study of the island of Kandholhudhoo, whose residents were temporarily relocated to eleven different atolls while Dhuvaafaru - their new home and a different island - was being constructed for permanent housing. The article examines best practices and difficulties with the response to natural disasters, managing IDPs, and the reconstruction process.

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