After the tsunami of December 2004, the needs were so great that the construction sector was the main focus of humanitarian actors. The BRR (the Aceh and Nias rehabilitation and reconstruction agency) estimated the number of houses which needed to be rebuilt after the catastrophe to be 120000. Around 127 organisations built permanent housing, which was the focus of this study due to the scale of the programmes and their impact.
A field study was conducted between October 2008 and February 2009.This period covers the last months of the BRR’s mandate and allowed the researchers to observe what, in theory, was the end of the reconstruction programmes. Data was collected during visits to a great number of projects, and during interviews with people who had lost their homes and humanitarian actors in Banda Aceh and its surroundings, Sabang, Sigli and its surroundings, Nias, Meulaboh and Calang.
Permanent housing construction projects were studied in detail, as well as the long-term prospects and appropriation of these spaces by the beneficiaries. The study also focused on sectors which are directly connected to construction such as property issues, the reconstruction of networks (transport, water, electricity), etc., as well as the link or absence of link between the emergency phase and development programmes. The specific characteristics of the Aceh context were highlighted, such as the decisive influence of the conflict in the reconstruction.