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Indian Ocean tsunami

Take a deeper dive into our lessons and successes,
five years after the Indian Ocean tsunami.


Habitat homeowners in Indonesia.


A Habitat homeowner family in Sri Lanka.


On December 26, 2004, a 9.0-magnitude undersea earthquake struck the western coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The earthquake was the fourth largest since 1900. More than 225,000 deaths and disappearances were caused by the resulting tsunamis which struck and ravaged coastal regions all over the Indian Ocean. The scale and extent of the destruction of housing was unprecedented.

Habitat’s response
Habitat for Humanity mobilized an enormous number of local and international volunteers in the reconstruction of affected communities in the four countries.

The rebuilding activities include repairs, renovations and new housing. During reconstruction, new disaster-resistant construction technologies and methodologies have been implemented to help mitigate vulnerabilities to future disasters.

To date, Habitat has built more than 22,500 permanent houses in Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia and Thailand.

  • Thailand
    Habitat for Humanity Thailand has served nearly 2,000 tsunami-affected families through home repair, rehabilitation and new home construction. As part of the transition to a regular repayment program, Habitat recruited families to join a Save & Build microfinance housing program.
  • Indonesia
    In Indonesia, the country hardest hit by the tsunami, Habitat for Humanity Indonesia repaired, rehabilitated or built homes for 4,991 families, and supported 3,379 other families by building community centers, playgrounds, kindergartens, public clinics or setting up water and sanitation infrastructure. Read more about Habitat’s response to the earthquake in Pakistan in the Habitat for Humanity Disaster Response Shelter Catalogue.
  • India
    Habitat for Humanity India worked on the construction of villages to relocate fishing families. Habitat also repaired and renovated houses vulnerable to cyclone damage. A total of 11,711 houses have been reconstructed and more than 14,000 families have been assisted.
  • Sri Lanka
    Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka has completed 2,880 houses under the tsunami reconstruction initiative and continues to build houses in tsunami-affected areas as part of their regular development program.

Read more about what Habitat has accomplished in the decade following this tsunami.