Four years after the devastating Indian Ocean
tsunami, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
reports tremendous progress has been made in rebuilding the structures that were
destroyed and in rehabilitating shattered communities. Indonesia, Sri Lanka and
the Maldives were the countries most seriously affected by the disaster.
Nearly one quarter of one million people were killed by the tsunami.
Entire communities were wiped out, houses destroyed, lives ruined.
four years after this catastrophic event, the Red Cross reports 97 percent of
houses planned for people affected by the tsunami are finished or under
construction. And, hundreds of new hospitals, clinics and schools have been
built back better.
The International Federation's special representative
for tsunami recovery, Jerry Talbot, tells VOA the lives of people who lost
everything also have been rebuilt and are improving.
"And, building back
better is making sure that these families are able to function again, have
somewhere to live, that they have livelihoods and that they are members of
communities that are more resilient and safer," said Talbot.
Talbot acknowledges that some people have been
so deeply traumatized by the disaster that the scar will stay with them for the
rest of their lives. He says many people, who have lost loved ones, will need
"Every one of those persons who died, of course, leaves
behind a grieving family. And, very often, of course, it means that we have a
lot of single parent households, for example where people are struggling to take
care of a young family whilst at the same time trying to find the wherewithal to
make sure that there is something in the kitchen every day," he said.
Talbot says tsunami-affected communities run many risks from climate
change, flooding, landslides and other disasters. He says these disasters cannot
be prevented, but people can and are being taught how to mitigate future
He says early warning systems have been set up to alert people to
So far, more than four million people have received
assistance from the Red Cross. The agency says it expects to complete all work
by the end of 2010. By then, the Red Cross says it will have spent more than