In the immediate aftermath, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement mobilised thousands of staff and volunteers across the affected region to carry out search and rescue, relief distribution and a range of health activities, from first aid to psychological support.
As emergency response turned to recovery, the British Red Cross focused its operations on helping people devastated by the tsunami in Indonesia, the Maldives and Sri Lanka. This work was completed by May 2009.
Indonesia, Maldives and Sri Lanka
In Indonesia we built more than 2,200 earthquake-resistant homes and gave more than £4 million in cash to 11,300 survivors to help rebuild their livelihoods.
In the Maldives, we built 466 new homes across five islands. On one island, Vilufushi, land had to be reclaimed from the sea before construction could begin. Across six islands, our livelihoods and disaster management projects helped more than 3,000 people strengthen their livelihoods.
In Sri Lanka, we provided boats and nets to fishing communities in Batticaloa as well as distributing 22,900 cash grants to help people develop existing or new livelihoods. These included honey bee production, tree planting, furniture manufacturing and bicycle repair workshops.
Preparing for future disasters
Communities in all three countries participated in programmes to prepare them for future disasters. For example, in Indonesia, a Red Cross programme taught people to design and build safer houses, with 15 community buildings constructed as a result.
Teams made up of people from the community were established, to assist in the identification and design of projects, such as evacuation routes and reinforcing river banks. These community-based action teams meant people were helping their own communities be better prepared for future disasters.
They also received training in areas such as first aid, search and rescue and early warning, as well as undertaking exercises to identify and map potential disaster hazards and vulnerable families in their villages.