The underwater earthquake off the coast of Indonesia which struck on 26 December 2004 created a tsunami which devastated coastal communities across Asia. Besides the loss of life and property, it shattered family life, leaving people homeless and helpless. The survivors needed urgent support in the form of food, water, clothing, temporary shelter and essential services such as medical care and counselling.
Local Salvation Army officers and lay staff arrived at communities affected by the tsunami within hours of the tsunami striking. Within a few days they were joined by international Salvation Army personnel who provided immediate assistance by organising medical camps and medical mobile clinics; the distribution of food (including rice, the staple diet of the region), water; clothing, cooking utensils and toiletries; and counselling for survivors who lost family members in the disaster.
Reconstruction and rehabilitation
The response of the public was overwhelming. So far (June 2005) The Salvation Army has received public donations amounting to US $42,279,097.
Just a few weeks after the disaster struck, Salvation Army teams led by the International Programme Resources Department were preparing needs assessments to assist local communities to rebuild their homes and lives.
Many project proposals have been written, and approved by the Salvation Army International Finance Board, and 24 projects - with a total budget of US$34,544,323 - have started being implemented in 37 communities in Central, South East and South West India, the Andaman Islands, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. (Chart of funding for projects)
Cost of Projects
India Central Territory
India Northern Territory
India South Eastern Territory
India South Western Territory
Sri Lanka Territory
The project activities include reconstruction and renovation of houses, schools and clinics; replacement and repair of boats, fishing equipment and other means of livelihood; and support with medical care and counselling.
A number of income generation activities using existing self-help groups in India have started to provide income for a number of very vulnerable women, many of them widows. Similar projects are being implemented in Indonesia and Sri Lanka, many of them operating as micro-credit activities to ensure longer-term sustainability.
Provision of supplementary feeding continues in some areas for the poorest sections of communities who are unable to buy food.
The projects are being implemented by local Salvation Army officers, lay staff and communities, with the support of international Salvation Army personnel. Planned targets are being met.
The fact that The Salvation Army worked in some of the areas for many years prior to the tsunami, proved important. Families and people already knew The Salvation Army as an organisation which is among the first to arrive with help following a disaster, large or small.
Specific help has been provided as follows:
- Immediate support, counselling and consolation of the surviving victims.
- Immediate physical practical support (including helping survivors find relatives, and clearing streets).
- Relief supplies and counselling.
- Two relief camps in two villages - Nagapattinam and Vullavar Nagar - servicingmore than 2, 000 people.
- Community kitchens.
- Food, clothing and household equipment distribution.
- Relief distributionand home visit counselling in places throughout central India, including Marina beach in Chennai, and Andhra Pradesh, Machilipattanam, Nizzampattanam, Puttisubbaiahpalem Palem, Maypadu and Nagayalanka.
- In total, 8,620 families have been helped through these relief programmes, representing 43,100 individuals.
- The Salvation Army in central India has received RS 6,427,150 in donations and spent RS 4,728,589 on relief programmes so far.
- A long-term coastal rehabilitation project has started to rebuild the livelihoods of 2,776 families in eight communities. This involves:
- Supplementary feeding
- Housing construction in two villages
- Fishing boats replacement and repair
- Fibre glass boats
- Engine replacement and repair
- Fishing nets supply
- Self-help groups
- Skills training
- Wells construction.
- A long-term project has started in Iskapelli to repair 169 acres of salt pans, revitalise local livelihoods and protect areas from flooding, incorporating a cash for work programme and supplemental feeding.
Northern India (including Andaman and Nicobar Islands)
- Initial dry-food distributions (55 families).
- Cash for work schemes in Namunaghar, upgrading living conditions (25 families).
- A total of 335 household equipment kits distributed.
- Work on upgrading’ temporary shelters. In Namunaghar, where 180 shelters will be improved by providing concrete floors, brick walls and gravel paths.
- Permanent houses will be built - 50 confirmed, more are planned. They will be the first permanent houses to be constructed on the island.
- Education grants and kits.
- Mosquito nets for 250 families.
- A long-term rehabilitation project has started to rebuild the livelihoods of 1,500 families in three communities and involves:
- supplementary feeding for 600 families
- household equipment kits for 1,000 families
- repairs to 150 houses
- mosquito nets for 250 families
- permanent houses for 200 families
- education grants
- credit and community development
- cash for work schemes
- rebuilding public school and clinics.
- Salvation Army Health and Development projects have been initiated, including rescue, relief, rehabilitation and development work.
- Four social workers, one liaison officer, one secretary and two drivers appointed for the project work.
- Food and educational equipment distribution.
- Construction of nutrition centre for children up to five years old.
- Construction of child care centre.
- School uniforms distribution (stitched by local women in the community, who earned money from this for their livelihood).
- Medical camps and support, through which more than 2,000 people have been provided with free medical care.
- Counselling and community counselling training.
- Renovation and repairing 200 houses.
- Village reconstruction.
- Construction of temporary shelters, with toilets and bathrooms.
- Installation of bore wells.
- Three mechanics appointed, through which 55 beneficiaries (89 per cent of them being fishermen) have had engines repaired.
- Allied materials and equipment for fishing distributed to fishermen.
- Timber provided for local community members to make and sell catamarans to the fishermen.
- Local women to be provided with tailoring machines and cloths so they can stitch school uniforms for the children.
- Short-term courses on youth and personality development.
- Vocational courses in motor mechanism, electrical and winding.
- Health awareness programmes.
- Pump stoves and cooking utensils distribution.
- Long-term rehabilitation projects incorporating the above.
- Relief supplies and household equipment distribution for 650 familes (4,000 individuals).
- Relief camp constructed.
- Education materials distribution.
- Nutrition food materials distribution.
- School equipment distribution.
- Medical camp constructed.
- A long-term rehabilitation project incorporating:
- housing construction, housing repairs and basic housing items;
- replacement boats, fishing equipments and grants for small loans through established self-help groups;
- the establishment of a community development and emergency team.
- A long-term development project incorporating the provision of nets, boats (including catamarans) and floats for fishermen.
- Long-term community development projects incorporating:
- The construction of 500 houses, including water, sanitation and electricity, in co-ordination with authorities.
- The construction of three community centres providing drop-in services for children, health clinics, and livelihood-based programmes and community meetings in accordance with community needs.
- The provision of mobile health clinic services to 1,500 people per month in the tsunami-affected district of Meulaboh.
- The provision of community development programmes.
- Participatory Learning in Action training for project staff.
- The provision of materials and equipment to 135 women to rebuild livelihood and help generate income.
- The reconstruction of a multi-purpose community building.
- The provision of fishing equipment.
- A Salvation Army ‘Compassion in Action’ Team is actively helping people with health, personal counselling, education and recreation programmes for children.
- Aid relief teams set up in the following areas:
- Colombo (Modera and Dehiwela)
- The distribution of food and dry rations, household equipment, cooking and kitchen equipment, clothing, school equipment and tents.
- Construction of temporary houses.
- Community gatherings.
- Psychological support.
- Income generation programmes.
- A Community Counselling Coordinator to develop and train a team of 51 volunteers to provide service and counselling to tsunami affected villages.
- A total of 109,673 individuals have benefited from The Salvation Army’s relief work in Sri Lanka.
- Long-term community development projects have been established, incorporating:
- The construction, rebuilding and repair of homes.
- Provision of livelihood support grants to men and women.
- Provision of household kits.
- Identifying and relocating families.
- Initiating sewing, masonry and construction training.
- The repair and rebuilding of a damaged mill and provision of replacement raw materials.
- Replacement electricians’ equipment.
- Replacement tools and raw materials for traditional mask-making enterprises.
- Provision of machinery and training for cement block manufacturing.
- Construction of a new village metal workshop and provision of replacement tools and equipment.
- External and internal repairs to an eventide home and girls’ home property and resettlement of residents.move residents back.
This is taking place in each of the tsunami-affected areas mentioned above. It involves a number of workshops strategically linked over 12 months.
The Salvation Army is proving to be an effective and vital part of the rehabilitation of lives torn apart by the tsunami. This has been helped by the fact that The Salvation Army was already established in many of the communities affected. It was there before the tsunami hit, suffered alongside the people as it happened, was there to pick up the pieces, and - as General John Larsson has stated -- will continue to be there ‘for the long haul'.