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Five Years after Tsunami AmeriCares Still Aiding Survivors

  • December 15, 2009

The Southeast Asia tsunami destroyed homes, wiped out villages and killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people on the morning of December 26, 2004. In the days and weeks following, AmeriCares quickly delivered seven emergency airlifts of medical aid and relief supplies for survivors in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and India. But our work didn’t end there.

An unprecedented outpouring of support allowed AmeriCares to undertake our largest relief effort to date, investing more than $45 million over the past five years to rebuild schools, hospitals, water systems and livelihoods for survivors. AmeriCares selected projects based on the carefully assessed needs of the affected communities, the impact on each community, and the cost-effectiveness of each investment. 

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One of AmeriCares largest tsunami relief projects to date is the new, $3.5 million wing at the District Base Hospital at Elpitiya in Sri Lanka, which was inundated with patients after the tsunami because so many other hospitals were destroyed or overburdened. AmeriCares recently completed construction on the four-story addition that houses patient wards, two operating rooms, a blood bank, an updated laboratory and a maternity ward with nine private delivery rooms – a first in the region.

The hospital addition increased the medical services offered, doubling the number of beds available to 300. AmeriCares also fully equipped the new wing with the necessary medical equipment and furniture.

 “The improvements made by AmeriCares will allow the hospital to provide a higher level of care for expectant mothers and other patients for years to come,” said Rachel Granger who oversees AmeriCares Tsunami Relief Program. “Patients who previously had to travel long distances for specialized care can now get the services they need right in Elpitiya.”

Thanks to the improvements made by AmeriCares, the Ministry of Health plans to make the Elpitiya hospital a teaching facility in the future. 

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AmeriCares other tsunami relief efforts in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and India include:

  • More than 40 health care facilities built or renovated
  • Nearly 100 hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities outfitted with new medical equipment and re-stocked with medicines 
  • More than 20,000 health care workers trained
  • 7,500 families received job training and other livelihood support 
  • More than 20 schools rebuilt or renovated
  • Over 20 water systems built to provide clean water