It took 10 seconds to destroy - and will take 10 years to rebuild

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.

Sport
The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer your expertise as Trustee for The Society of Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...

Email Designer

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Psychology Teacher

£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...

Food Technology Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week