Publication Details

Abraham, A. (2005). Post-tsunami havoc: government waives aid agency accountability. In AFAANZ (Eds.), Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand Conference CD Rom: John Wiley & Sons Australia Ltd.


On 26 December 2004 a massive earthquake caused a series of tsunamis across the Bay of Bengal and taking more than 230,000 lives and destroying villages, towns and livelihoods in 12 countries: Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India, the Maldives, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Seychelles, Bangladesh, Kenya and Somalia. Within ten days, the Australians had personally donated 100 million dollars towards the massive relief effort. The large number of requests for cash and the abundance of aid agencies organising appeals meant that donors needed to exercise care as they made their generous donations. Many lists of tsunami appeals were generated, with the official Australian Government tsunami assistance website listing 34 charities, thus providing these agencies with external credibility. The paper discusses measures by which the accountability of aid agencies can be assessed and then assesses the accountability of the agencies listed on the Government website by using three preliminary indicators. The results show that there was a considerable lack of accountability on the part of many of these agencies indicating that the Government waived its normal accountability requirements by moving away from its two accountability programs, ACFID membership and AusAID accreditation. The paper concludes with suggestions for two further indicators that could be used in a more rigorous assessment.