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Charting the New Norm?: Local leadership in the first 100 days of the Sulawesi earthquake response

On 28th September 2018, a tsunami triggered by a 7.4 magnitude earthquake destroyed the coastal township Palu in Indonesia. Over 2 000 people were killed while 200 000 people were displaced from their homes. Immediately after the tsunami, the Indonesian government set a precedent for how international disaster response is delivered in the region. It reacted quickly and established leadership, set limits on the types and quantity of assistance required from international actors, and demanded that all assistance had to be channeled via national or local humanitarian partners. 

This paper articulates what was different about this response and describes this new way of working, as demonstrated by the Sulawesi response. It also explores the possible and probable implications of this approach to humanitarian action if it were to become the new norm.

Published 2020-03-26

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