Five-Year Tsunami Report highlights goals reached in relief and recovery efforts
JAKARTA/GENEVA, 24 December 2009 - Five years after an earthquake off the coast of Indonesia triggered a massive tsunami that spread throughout the Indian Ocean, UNICEF issued a report summarizing the results of its relief and recovery programmes in the eight affected countries.
The tragic events of December 26, 2004 caused destruction on an unprecedented scale. Nearly 230,000 people were killed — 160,000 in Indonesia’s Aceh Province alone — the majority of them women and children. Communities were devastated, livelihoods destroyed, homes, schools and heath facilities washed away. Yet the sheer scale of the Tsunami’s destruction – as well as the massive mobilization of resources received from international relief – provided many opportunities to restore basic services and build back better than before.
In Indonesia, for example, “the unprecedented international response to the Tsunami created a unique opportunity to bolster the peace process between the Government of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement,” the report states, citing the peace agreement that was signed between the two parties in August 2005. Beyond the effort to address immediate needs following the Tsunami, UNICEF’s reconstruction efforts focused on both Tsunami- and conflict-affected areas, a strategic decision designed to consolidate the peace reached in the aftermath of the Tsunami.