On December 26, 2004, a 9.1 Richter scale earthquake struck in the middle of the Indian Ocean, 240 kilometers from the coast of Aceh province in Indonesia. The quake launched a tsunami that sent destruction all around the region, but nowhere saw more destruction than Aceh itself. Of a total population of four and a quarter million Achenese, more than 120,000 lives were lost and 90,000 people went missing. More than 500,000 people lost their homes, 150,000 children were left without schools, and 750,000 people lost their livelihoods. Public services were paralyzed, as over 3,000 civil servants died, 2,275 reported missing, and 669 government buildings were destroyed.
Two days after the tsunami, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono requested international assistance and declared Aceh open to the international community to provide emergency relief. Within a week, more than 50 international organizations were on the ground; the figure rose over 200 by mid-January.
By the end of 2005, $14 billion funding has been pledged for the tsunami response. Both the scale of the disaster as well as the scale of the humanitarian response were unprecedented in modern human history. Now as we approach the ten year anniversary of that terrible day, Give2Asia looks back at the disaster, our own role in the recovery effort, and what we have learned about effective disaster response.
Special thanks to Mike Rea and the Tsunami+10 Project