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Response and Recovery, In Retrospect

Response and Recovery, In RetrospectPeter Walker, director of the Feinstein International Famine Center at the Friedman School, looks back at a year where significant disaster struck both in the United States and around the world.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [01.09.06] On Dec. 26, 2004, catastrophic tsunamis struck several countries in South Asia, resulting in an outpouring of generosity and response from governments and citizens around the world. The tsunamis, however, also raised key questions about the efficiency of international disaster response.

Those questions would be renewed just over eight months later, when Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast of the United States, swallowing New Orleans in darkness and fetid water. More than a month later, a powerful earthquake struck the disputed region of Kashmir on the India-Pakistan border, triggering another tremendous set of needs.

The events of the past year beg the question of what lessons the international community has learned when it comes to disaster response. Peter Walker, director of the Feinstein International Famine Center at Tufts, has extensive experience in the realm of disaster relief. On the eve of the anniversary of the South Asian tsunamis, he sat down with E-News to look back at the response to these tragic events and look forward to what improvements are still needed.

VIDEO: (requires Real Player)

Peter Walker discusses disaster relief (5:09)

Past coverage:

Waves of Relief in South Asia (Jan. 3, 2005)

Faith Amid Chaos (Jan. 12, 2005)

The Last Mile (Jan. 17, 2005, requires Macromedia Flash)

A Call for Sensible Disaster Relief (Jan. 21, 2005)

Role Reversal: Accepting Aid After Katrina (Sept. 19, 2005)

Faculty React To Hurricane Katrina (Sept. 26, 2005)

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