Asia Tsunami Disaster

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What we did

World Vision mounted its largest single relief response across five countries simultaneously.

Our goal

World Vision continues to fund long-term community development programs throughout Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar. World Vision is also funding emergency relief projects in conflict-affected areas of Sri Lanka


On the morning of 26 December 2004, a massive undersea earthquake measuring 9.15 on the Richter scale triggered a series of tsunamis that charged across the Indian Ocean. The surging waves hit the coastline of 12 countries in South East Asia, claiming the lives of 227,000 people and causing widespread damage and destruction.

Aftermath of the boxing day Tsunami

World Vision's response

World Vision mounted its largest single relief response across five countries, including Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

The response in affected communities included:

  • emergency relief - meeting survival needs and restoring basic services
  • reconstruction of houses and infrastructure
  • long-term community rehabilitation projects
  • child-focused programs, education, health-care
  • advocacy and community accountability initiatives
  • disaster risk reduction and community resilience programs

Rebuilding after the Tsunami

Program highlights and achievements include:

  • utilising local and global resources for the rapid distribution of food, water, sanitation kits, cooking fuel, cooking utensils, clothing and mosquito nets
  • participating in more than 50 airlifts, shipping supplies from Africa and the United States
  • construction of more than 12,000 permanent homes 
  • construction of 84 schools and 33 preschools 
  • construction of health clinics, community halls, child-care and livelihood centres, community offices and warehouses 
  • restoration of bridges, canals, roads, a fishing harbour, boat-building centres, farms, factories, marketplaces and a rural development training centre 
  • large-scale water and sanitation projects 
  • employment opportunities, support and vocational training for almost 40,000 people
  • healthcare promotion and services provided to more than 440,000 people 
  • educational support given to more than 2,000 teachers and 137,000 children 
  • established 200 child friendly spaces to provide children with a safe place to play and share their experiences
  • provided child rights awareness sessions to more than 27,000 parents, community leaders, teachers and government officials.
  • established 12 broadcast centres to serve as warning systems in the event of a disaster
  • replanted 56,000 mangroves to reclaim coastal areas and to help build a natural buffer zone

Funds raised

Thanks to the generous support of the Australian public, corporate Australia and the Australian Government, World Vision Australia raised over $118 million for relief and rehabilitation programs. These funds contributed to World Vision's International Partnership response budget of over US$356 million.

World Vision’s tsunami response programs are now complete, but World Vision continues to partner with communities affected by the tsunami through new development programs aimed at improving child wellbeing. New child sponsorship, livelihoods, education, health, and disaster mitigation programs are underway.

World Vision emphasised the importance of accountability and integrity from the very beginning of the tsunami response. New structures, systems, and policies were established to ensure a high level of transparency, in addition to a continuous internal audit function.

Ongoing activities

World Vision’s largest relief response in history is now complete. World Vision has been successful in developing and implementing programming aimed at rebuilding tsunami-affected areas. Communities are now steering their futures with new livelihood opportunities, permanent homes, improved infrastructure and reduced vulnerability to future disasters.

World Vision continues to fund long-term community development programs throughout Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. 

Watch the full video series 'Ten years after the Boxing Day Tsunami', with reflections from current and former World Vision staff here.

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