Response to the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami
The Indian Ocean Tsunami on December 26, 2004, caught the world’s attention with the deaths of an estimated 225,000 people and scenes of total devastation in 11 countries around the region. IRD responded immediately in two of the hardest hit countries: Indonesia and Sri Lanka.
Within the first week of the disaster, IRD delivered 15,000 metric tons of rice valued at $4.9 million to the World Food Program for distribution to Aceh province, the hardest hit area. IRD also sent 40 metric tones of ready-to-eat snack noodles, two containers of clothing, and baby food, water, high-protein biscuits, and jerry cans for water purification and distribution.
IRD provided water and sanitation services such as tankers, containers, and bladders in the immediate term and the installation of shallow wells, the rehabilitation of water treatment units, installation of emergency latrines, garbage collections, and other critical services in the short term for 100,000 people.
Another program created jobs for displaced people through cash-for-work activities and grants to promote micro-enterprise and small business development in the most affected areas. Further programs prevented outbreaks of malaria and diarrhea, created mobile medical units, trained a network of community health workers, and helped people work through the psychological stress of the tsunami.
IRD was on the ground in Hambantota, eastern Sri Lanka, just four days after the tsunami hit to assess the needs for emergency water and sanitation. The resulting programs cleaned and rehabilitated existing shallow wells in two villages and constructed new wells on government identified sites for new settlements for families who had lost their homes.
From IRD’s base at the Hambantota Distribution and Coordination Center, IRD’s field staff distributed milk and other commodities to children in 25 local schools and repaired critical infrastructure such as water systems and schools.
IRD also provided short-term employment, relief supplies, and hygiene education.