Post-disaster recovery of Micro, Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (SMEs) remains an issue of interest for policy and practice given the wide scale occurrences of natural disasters around the globe and their significant impacts on local economies and SMEs. Asian Tsunami of December 2004 affected many SMEs in southern Sri Lanka. The study was developed to identify the main issues encountered by the Tsunami affected SMEs in Southern Sri Lanka in the process of their post-tsunami recovery. The study: a) identifies tsunami damage and loss in micro and SMEs in the Galle district; b) ascertains the type of benefits received from various parties by the affected micro and SMEs; c) evaluates the problems and difficulties faced by the beneficiary organizations in the benefit distribution process; and d) recommends strategies and policies for the tsunami-affected micro and SMEs for them to become self-sustaining within a reasonable time frame. Fifty randomly selected tsunami-affected micro and SMEs were surveyed for this study. Interviews were conducted in person with the business owners in order to identify the damages, recovery, rehabilitation, re-establishment and difficulties faced in the benefit distribution process. The analysis identifies that the benefits were given the wrong priorities and that they were not sufficient for the recovery process. In addition, the many governance-related problems that arose while distributing benefits are discussed. Overall, the business recovery rate was approximately 65%, and approximately 88% of business organizations were sole proprietorships. Therefore, the policies of the tsunami relief agencies should adequately address the needs of sole proprietorship business requirements. Consideration should also be given to strengthen the capacity and skills of the entrepreneurs by improving operational, technological, management and marketing skills and capabilities.
© 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).