The total death toll of 230,000 people told only part of the story. Nearly two million people were forced from their homes. Millions, too, saw their livelihoods wiped out or threatened. Many of those affected were already living in poverty. The people of Aceh, Sri Lanka and Somalia had endured fierce conflict for decades and many of those lived on the margins, making them all the more vulnerable to this catastrophe.
The tsunami caused a hugely complex humanitarian crisis and, nearly two years on, many tough challenges remain: 70% of tsunami-affected people in India are still living in temporary shelter; tens of thousands of survivors in Sri Lanka are being denied help because of renewed conflict; thousands of Acehnese who rented their homes beforethe tsunami are not entitled to new houses under government regulations; too many people living in temporary shelter do not have access to safe water or health services.
There is still much work to be done, in often difficult conditions.
Despite these and other challenges, it is clear that Oxfam and its partners have made, and continue to make, a positive and lasting impact on people’s lives. Since the tsunami struck, we have assisted an estimated 1.8 million people. Hundreds of thousands of tsunami survivors now have access to safe water and sanitation facilities, or once again have a sustainable livelihood.