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Uplink Porong: Supporting community-driven responses to the mud volcano disaster in Sidoarjo, Indonesia

This paper profiles the work of a small Indonesian NGO, Uplink Porong, in supporting the many affected households and different village organisations to work together, to develop and implement their own preferred responses and to lobby for support for these. It high-lights the importance of support for this kind of grassroots organising and networking building among those affected by disasters as an important foundation for more appropriate, locally-rooted post-disaster responses. As the profile shows, Uplink has encountered people-driven processes in a context in which the government and private sector are closely intertwined. These difficulties include the politics around the cause ofthe disaster (and thus responsibility), the private sector’s ability to disempower (by weakening co-operation), the need for international support beyond funding, and the lack of understanding of the destruction caused by human-made disasters, particularly where loss of life has not evoked the world’s sympathy or keenness to get involved. The authors suggest that the most important response from external donors would have been to provide on-the-ground long-term support for those affected to build their capacities to develop and implement their own solutions.

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