One Month after the Tsunami: Concern in Action in India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka


One month after the devastating Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, the nations of the region are still taking stock of the destruction.

One Month after the Tsunami: Concern in Action in India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka

One month after the devastating Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, the nations of the region are still taking stock of the destruction. The total death toll now stands at more than 280,000 with thousands of bodies still being retrieved every day in the Aceh region of Indonesia. Tens of thousands are homeless, many are living in camps for the displaced and the survivors are dealing with the trauma and shock of what’s happened to their families, their homes, their villages and their livelihoods. Concern teams have been on the ground in India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka since just days after the disaster, providing emergency relief and assessing the long-term needs of the people of the region. Concern is currently planning to reach at least 200,000 people in its short and long-term aid effort. Four weeks later, here is a look at what Concern Worldwide is doing:


Concern has been operational in India since the Orissa Super Cyclone of 1999, so we were knowledgeable about the country’s infrastructure and emergency response capabilities. Concern began its tsunami response in Tamil Nadu by joining with local organizations and targeting 16,000 households in urgent need of supplies. Concern has already distributed emergency kits including shelter materials, rice, oil, spices, cooking utensils, blankets, towels and clothes to 11,000 households, or 55,000 people, with the plan to complete the full 16,000 in the coming days. Over 1,000 people are already enrolled in our cash-for-work programs in 13 villages. These programs serve the dual purpose of clearing debris from affected neighborhoods and injecting cash into households and the local economy.

Future planning includes clearing debris from 32 villages and cleaning and rehabilitating 200 wells and water points. Concern is working with local organizations to respond to the long-term needs of 53 communities. Assessments to determine the best long-term interventions are continuing, as Concern teams meet with communities to figure out how to best meet their needs. These plans should be clarified in the coming days.

People targeted: 90,000 currently, more as long-term plans are solidified.


Concern has been on the ground in Banda Aceh, Indonesia since January 2, when the Deputy Chief Executive arrived to direct Concern’s emergency operations there. He reported that the scene there was one of utter devastation, unlike anything he could possibly have imagined. More than 3,000 bodies are still being recovered per day in Aceh and, one month later, the region is still in the early phases of coming to grips with what it has lost.

Concern is currently working to clear debris from 20 schools and clinics as part of its cash-for-work program. One thousand eight hundred teachers from Banda Aceh alone were killed in the tsunami, so it is unclear when schools will be able to reopen. Out of 120 schools, only about 52 are left. Concern is committed to creating the conditions for schools to reopen by clearing debris and supplying computers and science kits. Seventy laborers from displaced persons camps are part of the debris-clearing, cash-for-work program.

Proper hygiene and sanitation for those living in displaced persons camps is a main priority in keeping those living in camps healthy. But latrines designed for other regions are not familiar to the people of this region, and they don’t use them. For this reason Concern engineers are in the process of designing culturally-appropriate sanitation facilities, which will then be used in eight camps for those made homeless by the tsunami.

Other plans underway are supplying water, distributing emergency kits to 6,000 families and helping to build at least 1,000 new homes. Concern is continuing its assessments of other areas of intervention and will continue to update its plans as specific needs arise.

People targeted: At least 35,000

Sri Lanka:
After the tsunami hit on December 26, Concern began working with local partner Project Galle 2005 to distribute emergency kits containing blankets, shelter materials and basic cooking implements to families that had lost everything. Concern is currently distributing 10,000 kits, which will reach approximately 50,000 people in desperate need.

Sewalanka, an agency with more than ten years of relief and rehabilitation experience in Sri Lanka, 360 staff members and essential existing local knowledge and relationships in the region, is Concern’s primary partner in relief and rehabilitation in Sri Lanka. Concern will be working with Sewalanka on temporary housing, water and sanitation and livelihood projects in three southern districts – Galle, Matara and Hambantona. Planned projects include:

- Building 4,000 houses - Building and repairing 40 roads between villages - Cleaning, rehabilitating and 150 wells - Rehabilitating 20 community buildings - Providing livelihood projects for 4,300 people, of whom 2,500 will be women

Concern is also creating partnerships to help the Women’s Development Federation rebuild their microfinance programs, and to help other local organizations relocate displaced people, find long-terms locations for the residents of three villages who will not be able to return home, and provide long-term rehabilitation programs including education, psycho-social support, shelter, sanitation and water.

People targeted: More than 87,000

The road to rehabilitation in all of these regions will be a long one. Concern Worldwide and its partners will be there for the long-haul, working closely with the people of the area to best meet their needs.

Concern works in 29 countries around the world to support the poorest of the poor in achieving significant and sustainable lifestyle changes. Concern Worldwide US Inc. is 4-star rated organization by Charity Navigator. 100% of all funds raised through the US Asia Disaster Appeal will be given directly to our responding teams so that they can acquire necessary resources to respond to community needs quickly and effectively. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us at 212-557-8000, or visit our website at

Media Contact: Laura Weissen, 212-557-8000

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