Tsunami Newsletter:

30 December 2004
The Tsunami Disaster Hit Us All!

The death of thousands and the suffering of millions of people in the massive earthquake and tidal waves that struck the Indian Ocean shorelines on December, 26, 2004 has made us all realize a sense of belonging together that is rare in today’s world. Distant natural disasters with thousands of victims have seldom been met with such a response. This time, because a large number of tourists were among the victims, the whole world is involved.
Even though it may seem as a time of despair we have to deal resolutely with the needs of the survivors.
In Europe many of us are deeply involved in the situation of the tourists, as relatives, friends, work mates or professionals. In Asia there are also millions of poor people with nowhere to go and who need drinking water, food and shelter. Without our help more people will die because of this rather than the tidal waves. In the long run they need help to reconstruct their life, materially as well as socially.
The victims need to be carefully and patiently listened to, if they are to overcome their trauma.

The novelist Amitav Ghosh has written a report on the tsunami disaster in the Andaman and Nicobar islands.
The report appeared in three parts in The Hindu 11–13 January 2005. Go for the articles of Amitav Ghosh (on a photo to the right, in front of the Murugan temple in the devastated town of Malacca):
– Overlapping faults. On how the system and ordinary people have coped with the devastation caused by the tsunami of December 26.
– No aid needed. On the diligent and open attitude of the armed forces, and the bureaucratic insensitivity and inertia of the civilian administration in the Union territory. :
– The town by the sea. The novelist accompanies the Director on a search through the island of Car Nicobar towards the seafront where the town of Malacca once stood. Discovering in stages how little he had understood the power of the tsunami, the writer finds himself completely unprepared for the experience.

Beyond tsunami: an agenda for action
M.S. Swaminathan, Chairman of the Indian National Commission on Farmers, in an opinion article published in the Hindu 17 January 2004 proposes a systematic beyond-the-tsunami' agenda for action. First, by strengthening the ecological foundations of sustainable human security. Secondly, by rehabilitating livelihoods and fostering sustainable livelihood security. Thirdly, by putting in place a network of rural knowledge centres. Read Swaminathan’s article.

Sida appeal to the Swedish government
On 26 January 2005 the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida, in an official letter asked the Swedish Government to change the character of assistance to the countries affected by the tsunami disaster in Asia, from emergency aid into support for a long period of reconstruction. The letter, signed by Johan Brisman, Sida’s special coordinator for reconstruction efforts after the tsunami disaster; and Jan Bjerninger, head of Sida’s Asia division, makes an appeal that Swedish assistance should be focused on coordination, prevention of corruption, provision of work to poor people, and creating environmentally sustainable societies. The letter was published in the newspaper Dagens Nyheter. Go for the article, called ”Felaktigt tsunamibistånd...” (in Swedish only).

More information about the disaster:

For a worldwide overview:

For newspaper coverage:





Sri Lanka



More Internet news and information sites can be found on:

Tsunami Relief

For those wishing to contribute directly via Asian national organisations we here provide some links:

• For relief initiatives worldwide, see:

• For government information sites and relief

• For relief initiative in Sri Lanka, see for example:
Appeal from the Embassy of Sri Lanka, http://www.sasnet.lu.se/lankaappeal.pdf (as a pdf-file)

Tsunami disaster assistance information from IOGT
The Swedish temperance organisation IOGT-NTO has been involved in assistance work in Sri Lanka for many years. After the tsunami hit the country the organisation is active in all parts of the country. Information is also provided the whole time on the present situation. Go to IOGT-NTO’s web page.
Appeal from Professor Gananath Obeyesekere
On 9 January Gananath Obeyesekere, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Princeton University, presented an appeal for academicians all the World over support the relief work carried out in Sri Lanka by the Center for Women’s Research (CENWOR) – run by a group of professionals including past professors in the several universities in Sri Lanka; and the Neelan Tiruchelvam Trust (NTT), named after the Harvard educated human rights activist assassinated a few years ago. Read Prof. Obeyesekere’s appeal (as a pdf-file).

The Sri Lanka Tsunami Victims Relief Fund made it possible to give Online Donations for Tsunami Victims of Sri Lanka, channeled through the Prime Minister's Office. Go to the web site managed by the University of Colombo School of Computing. http://www.emergencydonations.gov.lk/

• For relief initiatives in India, see for example:

The Indian government channels donations through the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund, that contributes aid for affected areas of India, but also sends relief supplies to Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Read an appeal from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs. http://www.sasnet.lu.se/indiaappeal.pdf (as a pdf-file)

If you want to locate a specific relief agency, you can use www.google.com and use the search words ‘Tsunami appeal for relief’ plus the region or country for which you want information, e g ‘Tamilnadu‘ or ‘Sri Lanka‘.

Nordic conferences on the tsunami disaster

Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan (KTH), Swedish Water House and Engineers Without Borders Stockholm (INUG) invited academia (researchers and students), business (companies and professionals) and other organizations to a Swedish Tsunami Conference/workshop on 4 February 2005. The conference was called ”What Can We Do? – Mobilizing technical capacity for South-East Asia”. More information on the conference (as a pdf-file).

A symposium on the ”Tsunami and the Issues of Relief, Rehabilitation and Resettlement” was held in Kolkata, India, on 23 April 2005. The symposium was organised by the Calcutta Research Group (CRG). A report on the symposium was presented in June 2005. Read the report prepared by Paula Banerjee & Sabyasachi Basu Ray Chaudhury, CRG.

The Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, NIAS, has opened a Tsunami Disaster Portal, with an aim of providing background information, access to analysis and research, news about recent events and their implications, as well as links to reliable sources of further information. Most of the articles will come from Nordic research institutions, universities, ministries and aid organisations, but the site will also publish relevant material from regional research institutions, international organisations and NGOs.

Yours sincerely,

Staffan Lindberg & Lars Eklund & Jan Magnusson, SASNET

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Last updated 2010-11-18