You are here

Habitat for Humanity Launches Aid Appeal for Tsunami Victims throughout the Asia-Pacific Region

December 28, 2004

BANGKOK, 28th December 2004: Habitat for Humanity International is issuing an emergency appeal for funds to help facilitate recovery and rebuilding in the Asia-Pacific region following the earthquake, which struck at 7am on Sunday, triggering tsunamis which have caused widespread devastation.

Homes destroyed: Tsunamis leave a trail of devastation in Sri Lanka

Countries affected where Habitat for Humanity operates are Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Burma and Malaysia. It is feared that there could be more than 23,000 fatalities and millions of displaced and homeless people throughout coastal areas of the Asia-Pacific region.

Habitat for Humanity Asia-Pacific regional office staff are contacting national offices, affiliates and homeowner communities in areas severely affected by Sunday’s tsunamis across the Asia-Pacific region. Steve Weir, vice president of the Asia-Pacific office for Habitat for Humanity International, said, “We are getting word back from staff there just how hard hit the area is. Coastal areas were overrun by gigantic waves. Habitat’s work in Sri Lanka appears to be the hardest hit. Many areas have been crushed.”

The Sri Lankan affiliates of Batticaloa, Galle and Trincomalee are causing a great deal of concern as to the welfare of these vulnerable communities. All three affiliates have staff and homeowners near the ocean. There are no reports from these affiliates as yet, with all lines of communication damaged. It is feared that the losses could be high. The Sri Lanka National Office is assessing the situation and planning how to respond.

Searching the wreckage: people made homeless in communities where there are Habitat Sri Lanka affiliates

Other programs within the Asia –Pacific region have responded to enquiries as to their safety. Habitat for Humanity national offices in India and Indonesia have reported that their programs were not directly affected.

Habitat for Humanity Malaysia have contacted the Asia-Pacific office with news that their national staff members are safe. They are in the process of confirming the situation at their affiliates, which are currently unknown.

Contact is still to be established with the Thai and Bangladesh national offices for Habitat for Humanity.

One Global Village team was in the region during the time the disaster struck. The Shanghai American School team had recently completed their house building activities at the Matale affiliate in Sri Lanka and are staying in Colombo. Everyone from the Shanghai American School team is safe and accounted for.

Habitat is working to respond to the humanitarian disaster and an urgent need for shelter in the region. Funds raised in the Habitat appeal will be used to help Habitat homeowner families who have been displaced or suffered losses.

Aid will be required in the longer term to facilitate house building in areas where there are now even more families in need of safe shelter.

You can help the efforts of the Habitat for Humanity Disaster Response Office by a donation to the Asia Tsunami Response Fund.