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Departures (Response to a Global Event)

The Peoples’ Response to the 2004 Tsunami


After the 2004 tsunami, the peoples’ immediate response was to search for and rescue the survivors. In the areas hardest hit by the disaster, there were drinking water shortages and food shortages; these aspects of primary survival became the focus of most people's attention. Volunteer doctors from around the world provided medical care, and immediately actions were taken to ensure that there was no transmission of disease in all of the flood water. The combination of flood water and mass casualties meant that local authorities had to order the quick removal of dead bodies, often through mass cremation. The fear of an outbreak of water-born infectious diseases presented a significant threat. Food aid was provided to millions of people; a primary donor was the World Food Program. Expedient food aid prevented food shortages that may have led to riots. Approximately $9 billion of aid was promised by foreign governments, but there were complaints that not all money pledged was given. Citizens from around the world were generous with financial support; for example, the British public gave $660 million through charities, and many charities claimed that 2004 tsunami relief was the most successful campaign in history (Wade).


A large number of people lost their homes and places to live, so soldiers and volunteers built temporary shelters for them. The next most urgent problem was communication. Within the disaster area telecommunication systems were destroyed. Survivors were unable to communicate with the outside world; as such, many people had no way to ensure that their relatives and friends were safe. Relief efforts from abroad had no way of understanding the specific needs of survivors, so often supplies and equipment were sent that were not needed. Re-establishing communication infrastructure became a primary concern.


The second part of the reconstruction process, that is still happening today, is the rebuilding and improvement of infrastructure and housing. In the early stages of recovery, it was clear that providing housing to the survivors was a primary focus as it gave survivors the greatest degree of security. Providing support to help develop the regional businesses that create jobs was the next priority. The development of local businesses gave people returning to the disaster areas the ability to survive and eventually thrive as these businesses created much needed economic development. This stage of development was supported by expert advice and technical assistance provided by countries from around the world.


Works Cited


“Case Study: Tsunami - Tsunamis - KS3 Geography Revision - BBC Bitesize.” BBC News, BBC,,Re%2Destablishing%20infrastructure%20and%20communications.

Wade, Matt. “The Boxing Day tsunami triggered unprecedented generosity.” The Sydney Morning Herald, December 20, 2014, Accessed 15 February 2021.

“Delhi Airport Begins Offering COVID-19 Tests For International Departures - Simple Flying.” Simple flying,

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