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South Asia: Tsunami Operations End in Triumph

Three years following a catastrophic tsunami that devastated the region, World Vision wraps up its relief efforts, whose encouraging results are detailed in our final report this month.

December 2007

These girls are pictured outside their new school in Sri Lanka's Kalutara district. The school's reconstruction was one of the final projects in World Vision's relief work following the catastrophic 2004 tsunami. Before the new building opened, children were sometimes forced to study under the shade of trees outside. © 2007 World Vision
World Vision this month released the final report on its relief efforts in response to the Asia tsunami of 2004 — the biggest response the organization has ever mounted following a natural disaster.

The effort began within hours after the tsunami struck on Dec. 26 of that year and involved simultaneous operations in five countries — Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India, and Myanmar.

In December, World Vision will begin closing down its tsunami response coordination office in Singapore. Thanks to faithful donors, who supported us with prayers and giving, our work can be described as a resounding success.

From Devastation to Recovery

The relief effort included infrastructure rehabilitation, livelihood recovery, child
well-being and education programs, health care, future disaster preparedness, and helping families establish their legal rights to land and aid. These activities were all part of a broader goal to reflect Christ's love and compassion to children and families left with nothing in the wake of one of the worst natural disasters in world history.

Among the highlights noted in the final report are the construction of more than 12,000 homes, 84 schools, 33 preschools, 27 health clinics, and 200 Child-Friendly Spaces — facilities where children can play, draw, sing, share their feelings, and begin to return to normalcy — as well as provision of 20 ambulances, hundreds of hospital beds, and assisting more than 40,000 people with support and vocational training to get them back into paid work.

The report also notes the provision of fishing boats, carpentry equipment, welding supplies, sewing machines, a mobile blood bank, a pathology laboratory, and the reconstruction of a fishing harbor.

A Swift, Tangible Response

Wynn Flaten, a World Vision tsunami program officer, says the scale of the disaster presented enormous challenges because of its rapid onset and the fact that the devastation was spread across vast, disconnected areas in several countries.

These children are all smiles as they skip through the hallways of their new World Vision-constructed school in a tsunami-affected part of Sri Lanka.
These children are all smiles as they skip through the hallways of their new World Vision-constructed school in a tsunami-affected part of Sri Lanka. © 2007 World Vision

"People had to make decisions within 24 hours, when the context was not known so well," he says.

But despite the initial chaos, Flaten says, World Vision ultimately was able to deliver substantial assistance across a broad range of activities — largely because of the enormous generosity of donors.

Worldwide, World Vision raised nearly $380 million to fund tsunami relief operations, including $68 million from private donors in the United States. After fundraising and administrative commitments, about $347 million went directly to relief work in the field.

Producing Results

During the course of the relief effort, independent evaluators commended World Vision for the quality of its work.

The Fritz Institute — a non-profit organization that monitors the effectiveness of aid delivery — said World Vision was ranked highest by surveyed beneficiaries in Indonesia for the quality of its aid and the fairness of its distribution.

In India, World Vision shared the highest ranking with the central and state governments and a local organization — Social Need Education and Human Awareness.

And in Thailand, TANGO International commended World Vision for its swift and enduring response and found that livelihoods in the organization's operational areas were now close to what they were before the tsunami.

Better Living Conditions Following Tsunami Relief

Flaten says World Vision drew particular satisfaction from its housing program. New houses delivered to families rendered homeless by the tsunami were often of a higher standard than those they had previously occupied.

He adds that, to the extent legally possible in each country, World Vision ensured both the husband's and wife's names were entered on the title to their new home — so that the woman's interest in the property was secure.

So far, World Vision has spent about $309 million on Asia Tsunami operations. Remaining funds will be spent by World Vision national offices on development projects in tsunami-affected areas.

Learn More

>> Read the full final report of World Vision's post-tsunami relief work in South Asia, including the executive summary and breakdowns by country.
>> Read a story about one tsunami-devastated family in Sri Lanka who experienced renewed hope through World Vision's rebuilding efforts.
>> Watch videos detailing World Vision's work to help survivors of the 2004 South Asia tsunami.

Two Ways You Can Help

>> Praise God for the progress that has been made in the lives of those who were devastated by the tsunami — for livelihood restoration, renewed educational opportunity, access to health care, and more. Pray for God's blessing and care upon those who still face serious challenges in their lives, even three years after the disaster.
>> Donate to help provide emergency aid to survivors of disasters similar to the deadly 2004 Asia tsunami. Your gift can help create good news in places where the need is great.

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