Tien jaar na Tsunami

Tien jaar geleden maakte de tsunami in Zuid-Oost Azië in één klap 1,7 miljoen mensen dakloos. De rest van de wereld tastte massaal in de buidel; de slachtoffers konden gemiddeld rekenen op meer dan 2.000 euro per persoon aan noodhulp. Dat is maar liefst 800 keer meer dan bij vergelijkbare crises, leert een nieuw rapport van Oxfam.
On December 26th 2004 the tsunami wrecked havoc across 14 countries in South-East Asia. With €11 billion raised, it remains the world’s highest-ever privately-funded crisis response. Internationally, Oxfam confederation received € 239 million. 5.408.500 € of which were raised in Belgium. Our country witnessed indeed an impressive wave of solidarity : "Tsunami 12-12" , the joint appeal of the Belgian Consortium for Emergency Relief, was launched on December 28, 2004 and ended with simultaneous television shows in Flanders (VRT and VTM) and Wallonia (RTBF and RTL-TVi) on 14 January 2005. In late 2005, the “Tsunami 12-12” appeal had raised over 48 million €. 5.221.500 € of which went directly to Oxfam-Solidariteit’s response. 
Stefaan Declercq, algemeen secretaris van Oxfam-Solidariteit:
“Wat we bereikt hebben met de noodhulpactie na de tsunami, zou onmogelijk geweest zijn zonder de steun van talloze mensen wereldwijd - ook in België. Honderdduizenden slachtoffers zijn erin geslaagd om hun bestaan op een waardige manier herop te bouwen.”
Between 2004 and 2009, Oxfam and its partners helped around 2.5 million people. Oxfam was able to set up responses in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, the Maldives, Myanmar, Thailand and Somalia. It was the biggest humanitarian response in the history of Oxfam. Its emergency response focused primarily on water supply, public health, temporary housing, livelihoods rehabilitation and support to marginalized populations. Including temporary housing programs in Sri Lanka, water and sanitation for internal refugee camps in Aceh (Indonesia), legal support for marginalized Burmese migrants in Thailand as well as an important program of livelihoods restauration in South India. 
2.000 € pp
Oxfam says that while the huge outpouring of donations was vital to save lives and rebuild livelihoods, it noted that adequate responses to humanitarian crises remain a rarity today. Over the past decade, international funding has consistently failed to meet one-third of the humanitarian need outlined in UN appeals.
The report says that factors other than humanitarian need – such as strategic geopolitical and economic factors, international pressure and media coverage – continue to heavily influence government donors. For instance the tsunami attracted more media coverage in two months than the world’s top 10 ‘forgotten’ emergencies from 2003, which included the start of the Darfur crisis and Iran’s Bam earthquake that killed over twenty five thousand people.  A US study found that for every additional minute of TV network news featuring the tsunami, online donations would rise by 13 per cent. On average, tsunami victims benefitted from more than 2.000 € of emergency aid per person. 
The UN for example stated that the Pakistan floods in 2010 were “worse than the tsunami and the Haiti earthquake combined”. Ten days after the quake however, gifts totaled an amount which could barely provide for 2.5 euro per person. The Syria civil war, the South-Sudan crisis and the Ebola response are other examples of present day crises which face persistent difficulties in raising money for those in need.
Lessons learned
One of the most important lessons from the tsunami was the need for more investment in reducing the risk of future disasters. This led to the ‘build back better’ framework, which focuses on replacing or fixing infrastructure that is better at withstanding natural disasters. Another significant lesson was the absence of an early warning system that could have saved lives. A system has since been set up and was put to a successful test in the run up to an earthquake in 2012.  The Indian Ocean Tsunami also reshaped the humanitarian sector to some degree as organizations realized they had to be more coordinated on which aspects of an emergency response they are responsible, such as water and sanitation, logistics and shelter. 

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