Udary received a loan to restart her business. Photo: Howard Davies/Oxfam
Hundreds of thousands of people are now living in better conditions

2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami – 5 years on

“With our partners, we have assisted more than 2 million people.”

The Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004 caused widespread devastation, killing 227,000 people across 14 countries, with Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand the hardest hit. This exceptional emergency resulted in Oxfam’s largest ever emergency response, extending across seven countries and over a period of five years.

Oxfam raised $294m from across the world to fund its work, 92 per cent of which came from an unprecedented public response. The disaster triggered Oxfam’s first truly co-ordinated response as a global confederation, with 12 Oxfam affiliates co-ordinating their efforts through the Oxfam International Tsunami Fund (OITF).

Hundreds of thousands of people are now living in better conditions.

Oxfam and its partners responded with relief, rehabilitation, and recovery activities across seven countries affected by the tsunami: Indonesia (specifically Aceh and Nias), Sri Lanka, India, the Maldives, Myanmar, Thailand, and Somalia. These activities stretched from the days immediately following the tsunami in 2004 through to 2009. Activities undertaken included support for livelihoods, public health, and shelter for affected communities.

Despite the challenging circumstances, we have achieved a huge amount.  Hundreds of thousands of people are now living in better conditions than they were before the tsunami,  thanks in no small part to the generosity of people around the world.


1. Tsunami Fund - End of Program Report (2008) – download or read online

This report, published in December 2008, gives a summary of the work which Oxfam carried out, assisting around 2.5 million people in seven countries. It includes case studies of individual beneficiaries and their stories of hope and recovery, and is available in English, French and Spanish.

2. In the Wake of the Tsunami: An evaluation of Oxfam International’s response to the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami (December 2009)

The final evaluation report highlights some of the best of Oxfam’s experience – strategies and activities to be repeated in other emergency responses – and identifies areas where we need to do things differently.

3. Collaboration in Crises: Lessons in community participation from the Oxfam International Tsunami research program (December 2009)

Since early in 2005, Oxfam has carried out research in the affected communities of India and Sri Lanka, laying the groundwork for programs, capturing observations and experiences of community members, and exploring new approaches to disaster response and risk reduction. The program was aimed at improving the policies and practices of Oxfam and other aid agencies, as well as contributing to the effectiveness of the global humanitarian community in future emergencies.

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