June 22 2005
6 months after the tsunami: the trauma remains, the rebuilding continues
(21 June 2005) - Six months after the tsunami, the natural disaster which caused widespread devastation in South Asia continues to traumatise survivors. "People are still terribly frightened of another tsunami and are constantly on the move and fleeing," said Shubha Murthi, regional director of SOS Children's Villages.
The overall purpose of SOS Children's Villages' relief operations, which were launched shortly after disaster struck on 26 December 2004, is to help affected families and communities return to self-sufficiency. Already in the initial stages, SOS Children's Villages set up a whole array of psychological aid programmes to help children and their families overcome the tragedy.
In India, SOS Children's Villages bought and distributed boats and fishing equipment to fisherman families as a means to help them once again secure an income. The relief operations were then expanded and now include a wide variety of programmes such as the rebuilding of entire coastal villages in eastern Sri Lanka and southern India and Indonesia. This includes the construction of infrastructure such as permanent housing, community and educational buildings, social centres, as well as roads and canalisation. In Sri Lanka, the first of more than 1,000 permanent family houses were completed in the town of Komari and handed over to families at the beginning of June.
In addition, a total of five SOS Children's Villages are in the planning. These will provide long-term homes in a family environment for hundreds of children orphaned by the tsunami disaster. Three of these will be constructed in the Indonesian towns of Banda Aceh, Meulaboh and Medan. Another SOS Children's Village is in the planning in the Sri Lankan town of Batticaloa, which is partly controlled by the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam), and another such facility will be built in the Indian town of Pondicherry.
Particularly in the worst-hit regions of Sri Lanka and Indonesia, the relief operations are being carried out under extremely demanding conditions. SOS Children's Village employees continue to work tirelessly to ensure aid for the worst-hit areas, in spite of the largely destroyed infrastructure. SOS Children's Villages is a non-governmental and non-denominational organisation providing long-term care for destitute, abandoned and orphaned children in 132 countries and territories. About 59,000 children are being cared for at the organisation's 438 SOS Children's Villages and 346 youth facilities worldwide. In addition, the organisation also provides families with welfare and educational services. Some 131,000 children and youths attend SOS Schools, SOS Kindergartens and SOS Vocational Training Centres, while more than 690,000 benefit from SOS Medical and Social Centres and SOS Emergency Relief Programmes. SOS Children's Villages has been carrying out humanitarian work in India since 1964, in Sri Lanka since 1980 and in Indonesia since 1971.
For more information contact:
Adriana Pontieri, Press Officer, Tel: (+43 1) 368 2457-2185,
Doris Kirchebner, Press Officer, Tel: (+43 512) 3310-5171,