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India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Thailand: Earthquake and Tsunami OCHA Situation Report No. 11

Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Date: 4 Jan 2005

Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2005/0003

OCHA Situation Report No. 11
Earthquake and Tsunami
India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Thailand

  • Ms. Margareta Wahlstrom, the Special Coordinator for Humanitarian Assistance to Tsunami affected communities, arrived in Indonesia.

  • The Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, arrived in Jakarta, Indonesia where he will be attending a special ASEAN leaders' meeting on the aftermath of the earthquake and the tsunami. The Secretary-General will be launching a consolidated UN Flash Appeal for the immediate relief of the victims in Jakarta on 6 January 2005.

  • As of 4 January 2005, USD 2 billion has been reported as pledged or committed contributions and loans for the victims for the tsunami-affected communities.

  • The United Nations Joint Logistics Center (UNJLC) is providing an overview of air operations for this disaster, particularly for Indonesia, Maldives and Sri Lanka. The latest report is available at its website:

  • Latest figures are as follows:
    100,000 (severely)
    Sri Lanka

(*The figures quoted in this report are official government figures).



The tsunami caused extensive damage in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the States of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and UT of Pondicherry. The tsunami affected a total of 2,260 kms of the coastline besides the entire Nicobar Islands.

The death toll reached 9,575 as of 4 January 2005. This might go up as many people are still missing persons/feared dead in the Nicobar group of islands.

Now the main focus is on the prevention of an outbreak of epidemics and relief and rescue operations in the affected areas with special attention to Nicobar group of Islands.

National Response:

The Government of India launched a huge relief operation involving the central Government (Armed Forces, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Home Affairs, etc.) as well as the State Governments of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, the Nicobar group of Islands and the UT of Pondicherry.

The focus is on relief, rescue and rehabilitation in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Disaster Management teams have been constituted in 12 islands by the Andaman and Nicobar administration where the relief efforts are now concentrated. The teams have representatives of the Department of Revenue, Agriculture, PWD, Police, Fishery, Animal Husbandry and Civil Supplies. All the islands have been surveyed and relief supplies have started arriving. The islands with small population namely Bamboka, Chowra, Pilo Millow, Tilanchang and Trinket in Nicobar have been totally evacuated. Diesel Gensets have been made available and have been distributed to different islands. All the affected islands are provided with satellite telephones and point-to-point communication established including police wireless system. 226 MT food items, 248 MT drinking water, 61 MT medicines/disinfectant, 7,798 tents, 26,563 torches, 635 Gen. Sets, 82 Pump sets have been delivered so far.

Key coordination mechanisms:

The UN has been in close contact with the central Government as well as with the States/UTs on the possibility of UN providing support. A 24 Hour emergency operation centre has been established in the UNICEF Office in Chennai. It has been agreed that this office is the most appropriate focal point for information dissemination on behalf of the UN for relief operations.

In order to facilitate the response of various donors, NGOs and agencies who wish to contribute funds for the emergency, the NGOs network in Prakasham (Andhra Pradesh State) opened a bank account for receiving the funds. The account will be operated for six months and NGOs will document the use of the funds and share this with the donors.

An Integrated Relief Command (IRC) for the Andaman & Nicobar Groups of Islands has become operational and coordinating relief and rescue. Three Central Teams under the overall supervision of the Secretary (BM), Ministry of Home Affairs have left on 4 January 2005 to visit Tamil Nadu, AP and Kerala for assessments.

UN response:

UNFPA has committed approx. USD 110,000 to the Government of India to meet urgent and essential needs in the tsunami-affected areas. The funds will be utilized for acquiring medical equipment, drugs and supplies to meet immediate health and reproductive health needs.



According to the Department of Health, the death toll in both Aceh and Northern Sumatra has risen to 94,100. Around 387,607 people are sheltering in tents or scattered IDP camps.

The situation in Banda Aceh is improving. The backlog of relief supplies is starting to clear.

Access by road to Aceh from Medan is recommended for relief supplies. However, alternative transportation routes are also being explored, including a possibility of rehabilitating ports. There are agencies shipping their relief items from Padang to islands off the West Coast. There are reports of piracy in Mallaca strait and on the West coast. Lack of air assets to deliver aid to the West Coast remains a concern. The United Nations Joint Logistic Centre (UNJLC) reported that air traffic control has been improved at the Banda Aceh airport with the help of the Australian Air Force.

After an aircraft crash in Banda Aceh, the airport reopened on 4 January 2005.

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent FACT team reported from the Meulaboh District that the sub-districts of Johan Palawan, Arongan Lambalick, Sama Tiga are completely destroyed. There is also concern for Aceh Jaya and Calang town which appears from air to be completely devastated. The electricity grid and most of the water system has been destroyed. The main hospital is undamaged but providing very limited services. The telephone and cellphone network is not functional.

The price of basic necessities such as rice and sugar has risen by 30 percent above normal price.

Constraints and requirements:

The security situation remains uncertain. In the last 24 hours there have been a two reports of armed clashes.

According to IOM, the following items are urgently needed: more supplies of fast and easily consumable instant food, medicines, more electric generators, radios, masks, gloves, body bags, local volunteers for clearing up debris, public kitchens, and medical teams.

UN response:

FAO is undertaking assessment missions mainly in the fishery and crops sector in the most hit areas.

FAO also released USD 305,000 for the provision of relief inputs in the agriculture and fishery sector.

UNFPA is providing 4,500 hygiene kits (USD 25,000), 100 kits are sent to Nias Island, 100 to Aceh and 4,200 are being procured in Jakarta. UNFPA is also providing 604 different types of reproductive health kits amounting to USD 370,000.

IOM has started assisting displaced persons leaving Aceh for Medan and Jakarta. In agreement with the Government, IOM provides transport assistance for those people to Government provided facilities. IOM’s Medan-Bandah Aceh overland relief operation has now grown to over 100 trucks and crews. The logistical base in Medan is now also providing storage, staging and trans-shipment for relief materials arriving by air and sea from around the world. On 4 January 2005, IOM Medan loaded 40 tons of food and other materials donated by M S F and Switzerland onto 30 US helicopters for delivery to remote areas as well as 30 trucks carrying food and water donated by IOM and the Indonesian Government.

Key coordination mechanisms:

The Joint Logistics Centre has been established to coordinate transport of relief goods and personnel, using transport assets provided by the military from the Government of Australia, India, Malaysia, Singapore and the USA. Agencies wishing to transport goods/personnel by air, please visit the JLC website:, obtain a movement request form, fill in the form and send it to: The JLC will negotiate space for relief cargos and personnel according to the priorities set by the United Nations Disaster Management Team. Currently, priority is given to: water supply; medicines; shelter and food.

An IOM technical team is now based at Jakarta's Halim military airport to facilitate the loading of materials flooding in from governments, international organizations, NGOs and other donors.



The entire population has been affected, out of which one third of the population remains severely affected - reliant for water and food on relief. As of 4 January 2005, the death toll is 82, with 26 persons still missing. 13,311 people have been registered as homeless by the authorities and 8,352 as displaced.

Severely affected atolls and islands (Thaa, Dhaalu, Meemu, Vaavu, Gaafu Alifu and Laamu) continue to report contamination of water and/or salinity in water as well as blocked or broken sewage systems.

The backbone of the economy is tourism and fishing with tourism constituting over 34 percent of GDP. Twenty percent (19) of resorts have suspended operations for many months to carry out renovation works as a result of the tsunami. The Government is extremely concerned about the medium to long term effects as much as the devastation left by the tsunami across the archipelago. Nine resorts had to be evacuated. 46 of the 87 resorts have suffered damage which is over 52 percent of the resorts.


The UNDAC reported that with the arrival of the US and UK military commands in the Maldives, the need for logistical support appear to have been covered.

A lot of the country’s technical expertise is dependent on foreign labour from the neighbouring countries of Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh. Although the biggest portion of the 34,000 strong expatriate labour is in the tourism industry, the majority of teachers and doctors also come from expatriate labour. Teachers and doctors are leaving the country in the aftermath of the disaster and there is concern that the health and education sectors could come to a standstill because of this.

Key coordination mechanisms:

Within hours, the Government declared a state of natural disaster and a state of emergency and established a ministerial-level Crisis Task Force to assess damage, resume communication and power services, and coordinate the relief effort. By day four of the emergency, the Government had ascertained preliminary damage about all of the 200 islands.

The UN Country Team immediately established a Disaster Task Force to respond to the crisis, led by the UN Resident Coordinator. The UN has been liaising closely with the Government’s Task Force and has regular access to decision-makers, greatly facilitating a coordinated approach to the response. The UN Country Team is focusing primarily on the provision of water, food, ORS and transport.

In order to ensure that appropriate aid and quantities are sent to the country, please consult with the Government’s Crisis Task Force through the Ministry of Foreign Affair’s Department of External Resources:

Field Office contact: Aishath Jeelaan, Communications Officer, United Nations Resident Coordinator System, Tel: (960) 324501 ext. 227, mob: (960) 787 987.

UN Response:

FAO is undertaking assessment missions mainly in the fishery and crops sector in the most hit areas. FAO also released USD 380,000 (USD 80,000 from Belgium and USD 300,000 from FAO own resources) grant for the provision of relief inputs in the agriculture and fisheries sector.



Myanmar has also been spared from a large-scale emergency. Around 60 people are known to have died in the wake of the Tsunami in Myanmar. The UN and partners in Myanmar estimate, through a series of assessments, that possibly up to 30,000 people are in immediate need of food, water and shelter. The hardest hit area is the Laputta Township in the Ayeyawaddy Division where 34 people are officially reported dead and hundreds of families are without shelter.

Households that have lost members of their family and/or now have no shelter or access to safe water and medicines are direct disaster victims. Aside from immediate needs, some 200 villages spread over the southern coast of Myanmar will also have suffered from the economic impact of the Tsumani disaster. Most of these villages rely on fishery to sustain their livelihoods. Fishermen and fishing equipments such as boats and nets have been the worse hit. Community basic services will also have to be supported.


Relief agencies have rapidly organized and coordinated assessments in accessible areas and have found needs for safe drinking water, food, medicines and shelter.

National and International Response

The Government of Myanmar responded to the situation and provided support to affected populations. The Government has shared available information on the Tsunami impact and continues to make available to the relief community its findings.

FAO is undertaking assessment missions mainly in the fishery and crops sector in the most hit areas.

WHO and UNICEF are collaborating to reduce the risk of disease outbreaks and the level of morbidity by strengthening disease surveillance, providing emergency medical supplies and supporting the resumption of child immunization services.

From the onset, the IFRC took the lead in coordinating the information and response with key partners including the UN.



The Government of Sri Lanka through the Centre for National Operations (CNO) is reporting the following:

  • Number of dead 30,229
  • Number of people missing 3,858
  • Number of people displaced 835,028
  • Number of houses destroyed 88,022

Constraints and requirements:

A key constraint in the relief operation continues to be the lack of logistics capacity. A concerted effort is underway by the competent agencies, led by UNJLC, to mobilise resources to set up effective supply and distribution systems, as well as tracking and reporting mechanisms.

Key findings from the first comprehensive assessment of needs report released by the UN indicate the following:

  • Gaps remain in the needs assessments, both district-wise and sectorally and assessment efforts must continue to improve the planning and targeting of appropriate responses. In this regard the following agencies will support the government in obtaining updated information on district-wise needs: UNHCR – Shelter, WFP – Food, WHO – Health, UNICEF - Water and Sanitation and Protection, FAO/UNDP/ILO – Livelihoods, UNFPA – Trauma Counselling

  • There is an urgent need to strengthen capacity for effective coordination in relief operations at district level;

  • Assessments need to take into account the situation of the overall affected population and provide them access to relief measures;

  • There is a need for appropriate shelter programs, tailored to meet specific needs of affected communities.

Secondary threat of water and vector borne disease is well recognised as the greatest concern. While in many places the inundation from the Tsunami has receded, further flooding caused by heavy rains in some areas is hampering the relief effort and exacerbating poor sanitary conditions of those displaced.

The immediate priority areas of response are for water (including cleaning up and restoring water wells), sanitation, health, shelter, food and essential non-food items, and transportation means.

According to IOM, cooking utensils, shelter, medicine, toilet facilities and sustainable drinking water (pumps provided to clean wells and work is in progress but not yet completed) is urgently needed for the camps in the Batticaloa district (Vaharai camps).

UN response:

UNFPA hired a logistician who will be responsible for reception and customs clearance of UNFPA relief supplies in the country and who will coordinate in-country transport and distribution of supplies.

A WHO water and sanitation specialist is working together with UNICEF and the Water Board on the issue of the availability of water.

FAO is undertaking assessment missions mainly in the fishery and crops sector in the most hit areas. FAO also released USD 305,000 for the provision of relief inputs in the agriculture and fishery sector.

On 3 January 2005, two containers of supplies were collected by IOM from the airport storage for distribution (including shelters and water). IOM field staff in Trincomalee, Ampara, Jaffna and Baticaloa are continuously assessing the situation in the area camps and reporting on main needs/aid required and on significant changes in the situations. Two IOM Staff will be dispatched to Hambantota to undertake a situation/needs assessment.

Key coordination mechanisms:

The first comprehensive assessment of needs following the disaster was released by the UN through the Centre for National Operations. The report provides a synthesis of the assessments undertaken by UN, donors and NGOs in each of the 12 most affected districts. The full report is available on

Regarding warehouse and trucking, initial information from various agencies indicate the existence of 17 agency owned/managed operable storage facilities (warehouses and rub halls) throughout the country. Another eight rub halls are currently en route. Further to this, five Government owned warehouses with varying degrees of capacity have been identified. Agency concerns about the shortage of trucks are being addressed through logistics coordination meetings where pooling of resources has been discussed. Currently UNHCR has a fleet of eight trucks (8 MT) and is planning to hire an additional 35 - 45 trucks over a long period. WFP is expecting a shipment of 40 trucks in the coming days.

The National Operations Centre, working under the direct authority of the President, provides the essential interface between concerned Government ministries, local authorities, the military and the assistance community.

The Government has established a Centre for National Operations under the direct authority of the Prime Minister which serves to coordinate the national and international relief operation. Information is compiled centrally and disseminated through the Government website The Centre is directly supported by the Office of the Resident Coordinator and the UNDAC team.

The Disaster Relief Network (DRN) has set up operation at the airport in Colombo. The information required by DRN is: cargo specification, weight and quantity, origin, consignee (or unsolicited), a contact point (with contact details) of the receiving agency in Sri Lanka, specification if commodities are for common use or for specific agency. The email address of DRN at the airport in Colombo is:

The detailed assessment reports gathered to date are available on the Government website managed by the Centre for National Operations (CNO):

The President has established a Task force for Logistics, Law and Order in recognition of the priority to streamline the logistics operation. In collaboration with the UN agencies, the Task force has agreed to a mechanism which provides the essential interface between the UN agencies and the Government.



The Royal Thai Government (RTG) reports that 5,187 have died (out of 2,463 foreigners, 78 percent died in Phang Nga Province), 8,457 have been injured and 3,810 are reported missing. However, new bodies are being uncovered daily and the death toll is expected to rise.

The Thai Ministry of Agriculture estimates approx. 2,400 fishing boats destroyed, 225 hectares of agricultural land affected and 54,000 livestock killed. 490 fishing villages with an estimated population of 100,000 – 120,000 have been affected by loosing the head of the family (the fisherman), boats, fishing nets or house. Five resorts in Phuket had partial damages, and 27 resorts were completely destroyed. 3,082 houses are damaged (excluding Phi Phi) and 3,689 are destroyed. 50 schools are affected, 4 being destroyed in Ranong. 19 governmental buildings destroyed, 8 harbors, 51 roads, 3 bridges and 11 embankments were damaged.

WHO reported 150 cases of diarrhoea.


The number of victims is overwhelming. It is therefore estimated that the time for the identification would take several months.

Relief delivery systems work well in Thailand. The only constraint has been the enormous pressure on the RTG in responding to the needs of foreign tourists and their embassies.

Assessment of needs in the most severely affected areas needs to be improved.

There is an estimated 60,000 migrant workers in the affected provinces (many of them unregistered).

Key coordination mechanisms:

Ministry of Public Health has set up a Command Center for the South in Phuket to coordinate health services and epidemic surveillance and response for the affected provinces.

A daily coordination meeting on forensic work takes place at the police headquarters in Phuket. The Government of Thailand has established a Website ( to provide information on the people dead, missing and injured.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of RTG is in charge of the overall relief efforts. The DVI Teams are under the joint command of The Thai and Australian Police Forces.

For the health sector, Ministry of Public Health has set up a Command Center for the South in Phuket. The Center is led by a Deputy Permanent Secretary and is responsible for coordinating health services and epidemic surveillance and response for the six affected provinces.

National and International Response:

The RTG has mounted an effective response operation; relief supplies appear to be reaching affected communities all along the Thai coast. The Thai general public has also contributed generously in donating clothing, blood, bottled water and providing meals at crisis centers. The Thai Red Cross has played a vital role in coordinating the delivery of public donations to affected communities.

Five international search and rescue teams are still actively supporting the efforts of the RTG on search of victims and in establishing temporary shelter for the affected population.

International Disaster Victims Identification (DVI) coordination team is now consisting of 22 international forensic teams (representing over 300 staff) working at three central locations (two in Phang-Nga and one in Krabi) to identify recovered bodies.

WHO’s plans are to continue disease surveillance, to carry out measles immunization for about 100 children in one relief center and to control malaria vectors by spraying and destroying potential breeding places.

FAO is undertaking assessment missions mainly in the fishery and crops sector in the most hit areas.

FAO also released USD 305,000 for the provision of relief inputs in the agriculture and fisheries sector.



Reports suggest that 150 lives were lost and 18,000 households1 are estimated to be directly affected and in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. However, the full needs are yet to be assessed. In addition a large number of fishing boats and equipment was also lost. The fact that this time of the year coincides with the peak of the fishing season increases the number of those affected.

In Jerriban and Eyl districts a total of 1,000 houses were reported either damaged or destroyed, around 1,200 boats were destroyed. In addition, all shallow wells were reported buried while water reservoirs were destroyed by the waves. In Beinder Beila and surroundings a total of 180 houses were reported completely destroyed in addition an estimated to 1,400 boats.


The remoteness of many coastal communities where the road infrastructure is extremely poor combined with a lack of reliable baseline information and the limited presence and capacities of implementing partners and government counterparts, has hindered the assessment process, but also increases the difficulties of providing relief in the affected areas.


The most urgent needs include drinking water, food and medication as well as support for the construction and/or rehabilitation of houses and shelter.

International response

Within days, operational agencies such as UNICEF, WFP, WHO and MSF-Holland, mobilised immediate assistance, including food, non-food items, and medical assistance, water and shelter materials.

FAO is undertaking assessment missions mainly in the fishery and crops sector in the most hit areas.


An international coalition (Core Group) consisting of Australia, India, Japan and the United States has been established. The Core Group supports the international efforts to respond to the massive earthquake-tsunami disaster. OCHA deployed a Senior Officer along with Civil Military Coordination Officers to liase with the HQ of the Core Group in Thailand. A UN Joint Logistics Centre representative will join the Regional Civil Military Coordination Cell.


OCHA is prepared to serve as a channel for unearmarked cash contributions to be used for immediate relief assistance, in coordination with relevant organizations in the United Nations system. For banking details, please contact the desk officers indicated below. OCHA provides donors with written confirmation and pertinent details concerning the utilization of the funds contributed.

Updates on contributions to this disaster may be found on the Financial Tracking Service (; or, click “Financial Tracking” at the top of the ReliefWeb page for this disaster). Donors are requested to verify this table and inform OCHA Geneva of corrections/additions/values. Donors are encouraged to notify OCHA Geneva of their contributions to this disaster using the OCHA Standardized Contributions Recording Format, available electronically on the above-mentioned FTS website.

Together with further information on other ongoing emergencies, this situation report is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at

Aid agencies are encouraged to use the Virtual On-Site Operations Coordination Centre (OSOCC) at to share information on assistance and coordinate activities.

Telephone: +41-22-917 12 34
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23

In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10

Desk Officers:
Mr. Erik Haegglund/Mr. Soichi Nakajima
Direct Tel. +41-22-917 32 99/ 4034

Mr. Rudi Mller/Ms. Caroline Pguet
Direct Tel. 41-22-917 3131 / 1836

Press contact:
(GVA) Ms. Elisabeth Byrs, direct Tel. ++41-22-917 26 53
(N.Y.) Ms. Stephanie Bunker, direct Tel. +1-917 367 51 26
(N.Y.) Mr. Brian Grogan, direct Tel. +1-212-963 11 43


1 Household size is normally calculated using 6 persons per household; however, given the lack of accurate baseline data on the permanent population and the fact the December-January is the peak season for the presence of a migratory fishing population, working figures for the purpose of this document are of 3 members per household giving a total affected population of about 54,000 persons.

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