The Asian Tsunami Disaster and the Global Humanitarian Response

Perhaps a quarter of a million people perished in earthquake and tsunami that struck the coastline of eight of the countries bordering the Indian Ocean on Boxing Day, December 26, 2004.

It was one of the worst natural disasters in recent years. Much of the damage in Indonesia and Sri Lanka, the countries hardest hit by the tsunami, is in areas controlled by separatist movements.

Six weeks on, has the global humanitarian response been adequate to prevent a further large-scale loss of life? What are the political dimensions of the relief effort?

Will the international donor community, which includes Canada, live up to the promises made to help with the rehabilitation of the survivors and the reconstruction of the areas devastated? And, in future, how can the death toll be minimized if another tsunami hits the region?

Speaker: Trevor Page is a former Director of Emergency Humanitarian Assistance of the United Nations World Food Program, the world’s largest humanitarian agency. He has physically doled out relief materials to the survivors of disasters, directed numerous relief operations at the national level on four continents and coordinated emergency food aid at the global level. Since retiring from a 30-year career with the UN, he has been a free-lance writer and commentator on international affairs.

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