One year later, major tsunami relief and development work still left undone

Jan. 1, 2006 | by Rebecca Barnes

Last year’s large-scale disaster in the Indian Ocean prompted a large scale response with record-breaking humanitarian aid led by Christian relief organizations. One year later, the magnitude of the tsunami is still evident in the number of victims who remain homeless and the slow pace of re-development.

According to, World Vision mobilized a record-breaking $350 million in donations, the largest amount for a single relief effort in the organization’s 55-year history. While they have helped a reported one million people, housed 1,000 in new homes and 39,000 in transitional shelters during the year following the Dec. 26 tsunami, there is a long way to go.

Other initiatives, both in relief and development as well as economic and humanitarian aid have also been record breaking, yet far from complete.

Overall, the tsunami generated a total of $13 billion in aid, according to The Associated Press. It was one of the most generous outpourings of foreign aid ever recorded. Yet most of the promises of help remain to be fulfilled. Some 1.4 million people remain in temporary shelters, according to the AP.

Rebuilding takes time. The obstacles to redevelopment are many, including the fact that property documents were simply washed away in the waves that also killed more than 200,000 people.

According to The Christian Century, the small good that has come from the overwhelming bad is that the violence that formerly marked many of the areas hardest hit by the tsunami has subsided. A 30-year civil conflict in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, has been pacified since the tsunami. Military force has been replaced by humanitarian aid and development work. With plenty of work left to do perhaps the peace will last a little longer as well.

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