Tsunami Relief: One Year Later

When the Indian Ocean tsunami washed away coastlines of more than a dozen countries on Dec. 26, 2004, communities around the world responded with overwhelming generosity.

It spawned one of the largest coordinated relief efforts ever mounted. The American Red Cross is one of many humanitarian organizations still working to help tsunami survivors. More than 10 million people have been assisted by the American Red Cross tsunami relief and recovery efforts.

With more than $567 million received, the American Red Cross is implementing and overseeing programs united by a common theme – community restoration. By working with local communities, the Red Cross ensures that these programs are comprehensive and sustainable.

In June 2005, the American Red Cross established the long-term Tsunami Recovery Program, which focuses on an identified set of core competencies: community health and disease control, disaster preparedness and community restoration and rebuilding. While the organization has transitioned to providing long-term recovery support, it is still responding to ongoing humanitarian needs in the most severely affected areas. With the help and support of a number of partners, from both within and outside the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (Movement), the agency has been able to avoid duplication of services and streamline relief and recovery efforts to reach survivors as quickly and effectively as possible.

As part of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, which consists of 183 national societies around the world, the American Red Cross works closely with host Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, local governments and our other partners such as United Nations agencies.

"Having just returned from the region, it was inspiring to see communities themselves, assisted by the Red Cross, involved in their own recovery efforts," said Gerald Anderson, senior director, Tsunami Recovery Program.

Ongoing American Red Cross Programs include:

  • The campaign to eradicate polio in Indonesia is targeted to reach 23.4 million children – the third round is scheduled for late November.
  • Cash for work community clean up programs are operating in 19 villages in Indonesia and in Matara and Hambatota in Sri Lanka. These programs provide short-term income for tsunami survivors, while helping to create a cleaner and healthier environment. The programs will benefit approximately 18,000 people.
  • In Tanzania and Indonesia, the American Red Cross and its partners have reached over 7.8 million beneficiaries with a measles prevention campaign, bed nets to prevent malaria and other health services.
  • A psychosocial support programming has been conducted in the Maldives and is currently ongoing in Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Institutes of higher learning are adopting our program model into their curricula.

These programs aim to reach over 400,000 people.

The American Red Cross is working on water and sanitation projects on the remote island of Pulo Aceh, Indonesia, and we are developing additional plans to reach 140 villages in the months ahead. Together,these water and sanitation projects are targeted to reach over 1 million people.

The organization is in the early phase of its disaster preparedness planning, where it will provide guidance for family linking activities and increase the capacity of local Red Cross and Red Crescent societies and communities to prepare for and respond to disasters.

For a more comprehensive list of American Red Cross Tsunami Recovery Program projects and statistics, www.redcross.org/tsunamirelief.

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