Ten years after the tsunami
December 26 2014 marks ten years since the tsunami, the gigantic wave that killed so many people in several countries, and left a massive destruction behind. After the disaster Diakonia was active first with emergency relief and later with reconstruction in Sri Lanka, Somalia, India and Indonesia.
Sri Lanka was badly hit by the tsunami and since Diakonia had several local partner organizations with capacity in the affected areas, we could make a valuable contribution. Over a period of three years we worked with emergency relief and reconstruction, to a total amount of 31 million SEK. Our efforts took place mainly in disktrikten Ampara, Batticaloa and Trincomalee.
The first phase with emergency relief consisted of, for example medicines, bandages, clothes, blankets and tents and other supplies.
After the first week we went to work on registration in order to facilitate family reunification. We provided affected comunities with cement and other building materials, assisted with school uniforms and books to facilitate for children getting back to the schools. We also helped people back to income generating activities. In this phase we also gave support to the repair and construction of wells and water sources.
After about six months the real work on reconstruction could finally begin. This went on then until 2007 and all the efforts were integrated with the regular, long-term development work of Diakonia and partners.
Psyco social support to affected people was of course an important component in the reconstruction.
The reconstruction phase was quite complicated by the fact that Sri Lanka was at war. Today it is officially peace in Sri Lanka, but the country is still characterized by conflict and no real reconciliation has taken place.
It is not so well known, but even Somalia on Africa's east coast was hit by the tsunami. Diakonia gave support to people affected in the region of Puntland. The efforts included the reconstruction of homes and schools and also educational and psychological support to victims. A total of eight million SEK was allocated to Diakonia's and partners' work after the tsunami in Somalia in 2005-2007.
In India Diakonia contributed to a relief effort for Dalits in the state of Tamil Nadu. This was carried out by the local organization SIRD. The money, just over three million SEK, was used to include housing and assistance to self-sufficiency.
The Indonesian people were affected in a merciless way by the tsunami. Diakonia contributed with just over two million SEK as a part of a major relief effort led by the global network ACT Alliance. Here, as well as in all other parts of Diakonia's work, local organizations played the leading role and handed out food, medicines, first aid boxes, place drapes and assisted with psychological assistance to the victims.