26 December 2004 was the day that changed the lives of millions of people forever. It was on this day that the tsunami struck 12 countries. Around 230,000 people were killed and over 1.5 million were left homeless. In an instant everything changed and even now, three years on, many millions of people are still struggling to rebuild their shattered lives.
In Aceh, Indonesia, 180,000 people lost their lives and hundreds of thousands of homes, schools, hospitals and shops were completely destroyed. In many cases people were left with nothing.
Islamic Relief was one of the first aid agencies to respond to the disaster in Aceh, and from the first day was on the ground providing emergency aid to those who were affected. We helped those who had lost their homes by providing them with temporary shelters, as well as emergency food, clean water and sanitation facilities and medical care.
However, it was not long before we began to turn our attention to providing for the long-term needs of affected communities. After months spent in temporary accommodation many people whose homes had been destroyed or damaged were keen to return to their home villages. It was essential for us to provide these people with new houses, as well as healthcare, water and sanitation systems, livelihood opportunities and education for children to ensure the new settlements were sustainable.
The following publication looks back at the work of Islamic Relief over the last three years from the immediate emergency intervention in the first few days and weeks to our rehabilitation and long-term development work. Although our work in Aceh is not yet complete we are working towards a time when we can hand our projects over to the community and when our support will no longer be required.