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Indonesia, Sri Lanka: Two years on - Sumatra Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster

The Sumatra Earthquake and Tsunami disaster caused unprecedented damages, with around 228,000 people killed or missing and more than 2 million people left without shelter


In more than 100 countries, donations of 277.69 billion yen have been made to the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. By September 2006, approximately 40%, which corresponds to 110.44 billion yen, had been spent on such activities as constructing 19,000 temporary houses, 21,000 permanent houses, 51 schools and 200 health and medical facilities. Other activities include the supply of safe water, psychological care, livelihood assistances and disaster management in the local communities, targeting more than 780,000 people.

The Japanese Red Cross Society (JRCS) collected 9.87 billion yen in relief funds from around 166,000 people. With total 10.58 billion yen, including relief funds collected, the JRCS has been engaged in the relief and recovery projects mainly in the worst-hit Indonesia and Sri Lanka in coordination with International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Approximately 6.87 billion yen, or 65 % of the total fund, was used for by March 2007. Until 2010, the JRCS will continue its recovery operation including the reconstruction of housing and communities, rehabilitation and enhancement of health services, countermeasures against natural disaster and support for rebuilding livelihoods.

Way Forward

There were many challenges working on recovery of the affected areas for the past two years. For example, the housing project in Indonesia suffered from the difficulty of carrying housing materials all the way from the mainland of Sumatra to Simeulue by the limited means of transportation. In the northeast region of Sri Lanka, the on-going ethnic conflict often stopped the construction work to ensure the safety of the Red Cross delegates and building contractors working for the projects. There are various other factors hindering the recovery progress of the affected countries, such as, the complicated procedures about the land and its ownership, the substantial rise in construction prices and so forth.

In the face of various obstacles causing the further delay of operation, the JRCS is trying to ensure the safety and quality of houses, health facilities or hospitals.One-sided activities by ignoring the affected people should also be avoided.As there had been long-standing conflicts both in Indonesia and Sri Lanka before the tsunami disaster, the JRCS's supports are required not only to bring back the affected areas to their original states before tsunami but also to improve the lives, health, and disaster preparedness of the people for their sustainable livelihoods.