It took 10 seconds to destroy - and will take 10 years to rebuild
Sunday 26 June 2005
Exactly six months after the Boxing Day tsunami pounded 13 countries around the Indian Ocean, leaving nearly a quarter of a million people dead or missing, few of the damaged waterfront communities are back to normal.
In spite of the $6bn (£3.3bn) aid pledged by donor governments for recovery and rebuilding, and $5bn more in private donations, experts predict that it will take up to a decade to repair such widespread destruction.
As a Muslim prayer service was held yesterday in Aceh and British forensic scientists and police held a memorial ceremony at the Thai resort of Phuket, Jan Egeland, the UN's emergency relief co-ordinator, said: "It took between five and 10 seconds to destroy thousands of communities; five to 10 seconds to wipe away 225,000 people. It will take five to 10 years to rebuild all that was lost. We are in for a very long haul."
Former US president Bill Clinton, appointed by the UN to raise funds for tsunami victims, underlined the need for a "gargantuan reconstruction effort". The UN's World Food Programme feeds more than 700,000 people daily, and it will take time before they can sustain themselves from their saltwater-burned fields. Thousands of distressed families still need counselling.
Government aid which was pledged to tsunami victims in an outpouring of sympathy following this century's worst humanitarian disaster has not all materialised. According to ActionAid, both Japan and Britain have met virtually all of their initial commitments, but the US and the European Union have delivered barely a third of their promised funds. Australia has come up with just 7 per cent of the money it committed to tsunami relief and reconstruction efforts.
Administrative difficulties have stalled rebuilding, in a region known for corruption and land seizures, because so many displaced people lost their identity documents and property records in the sea. The poor and marginalised still languish in flimsy tents and barracks, while the wealthy have moved quickly to obtain official compensation.
Months after troops from 40 countries organised emergency food, water and shelter for traumatised survivors around the Indian Ocean, progress has slowed and many victims still live in despair. Widows or lone women are particularly vulnerable to abuse in crowded refugee camps, and an estimated one million people have lost their livelihoods.
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site on Friday
New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain
- 1 Chinese authorities arrest 11 people over exhuming woman’s body to sell as corpse bride
- 2 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 3 Woman blinded as a child can see again after hitting her head on a coffee table
- 4 Paul Hollywood: Police asked if I wanted them to arrest Mary Berry for vandalism after she 'defaced' my car
- 5 If you think Russell Brand’s new book is confused, you should read what his critics have to say about it
'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
Tower of London poppies: Tens of thousands of people flock to see installation in its final days
Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
Woman blinded as a child can see again after hitting her head on a coffee table
Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...
£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...