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Tsunami: Four Years Later

  • December 23, 2008

On the day after Christmas in 2004, a giant tsunami killed 225,000 people in a matter of seconds in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and the surrounding region.

In the immediate aftermath, AmeriCares delivered seven airlifts, carrying 160 tons of lifesaving medicines, emergency supplies and water purification treatments worth $12 million to Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India.

AmeriCares initial airlifts were followed by a comprehensive, long-term commitment to help restore health and hope to the survivors of this terrible tragedy.

With more than $50 million of resources, AmeriCares helped rebuild clinics, delivered lifesaving medicines and supplies and trained health care workers throughout the region.

Emergency Medical Aid
and Health System Recovery

  • Over 150 tons of lifesaving medicines, medical supplies, water purification solutions and other essential aid
  • More than 30 health care facilities constructed or rehabilitated including hospitals, clinics, public health and child care centers
  • Nearly 200 health care facilities supplied with equipment, medicines and supplies including hospitals, clinics, health posts, training centers, laboratories and mental health units
  • Over 15,000 families protected from deadly malaria
  • Close to 25,000 people’s basic health needs serviced by a new mobile medical clinic
  • More than 17,000 doctors, nurses, midwives and community health volunteers received educational support including basic training, nursing books, emergency preparedness, trauma treatment, and HIV/AIDS support.
  • Nearly 40,000 people have access to safe drinking water due to completion of 12 large-scale projects
  • Close to 200 latrine blocks build to help prevent future water contamination

Educational and
Economic Development

  • 30 schools build or completely rehabilitated
  • State-of the art science and computer education center created
  • 7,000 families given materials and supplies to rebuild their livelihood
  • Nearly 4,000 people received livelihood training
  • 18 major economic infrastructure projects completed
  • 38 livelihood training centers opened

AmeriCares President and CEO, Curt Welling, recently returned to the region to review the work AmeriCares has supported over the last four years.

“Our work in the tsunami-affected areas has reinforced the importance of the type of aid we are able to provide, both in the immediate aftermath of a disaster and in the long-term recovery efforts,” said Welling. “Since we’ve been involved these past four years, we’ve been able to see first-hand how our support has touched the lives of so many people throughout the areas destroyed by the tsunami.”

“I went to Indonesia right after the tsunami struck and could not believe the magnitude of destruction.  Seeing the vibrancy of the communities today is so uplifting. It reinforces our mission and gives us hope that our work not only saves lives after a disaster, it helps restore health and rebuild lives over the long haul,” Welling continued.

The complete and utter destruction caused by the tsunami wiped out the region’s economy as well. One of the projects AmeriCares helped support was the rebuilding of the Lampulo Wholesale Fish Market, one of the main economic engines in Indonesia.

“One of the projects we undertook was rebuilding the central fish market in Banda Aceh, Indonesia – the local equivalent of New York City’s Fulton Fish Market,” noted Welling. “The market was completely destroyed and since the area is largely supported by the fishing industry, it was important to help rebuild people’s livelihood.”

AmeriCares is committed to post-disaster recovery programs throughout the world. AmeriCares provides immediate disaster relief, but long after the news cameras have gone, we are still working to ensure that health care is better than it was before the disaster.