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Indonesia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Thailand: Earthquake and Tsunami OCHA Situation Report No. 17

Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Date: 12 Jan 2005

Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2005/0009
OCHA Situation Report No. 17
Earthquake and Tsunami
Indonesia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Thailand

  • On 6 January 2005, the United Nations and its partners launched a Flash Appeal to respond to the urgent and immediate needs of the communities severely affected by the earthquake and tsunami. The Flash Appeal focuses on supporting people in Indonesia, Maldives, Seychelles, Somalia and Sri Lanka from January to the end of June 2005, and calls for USD 977 million to fund the critical work of some forty UN agencies and NGOs.
  • Jan Egeland, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, chaired a ministerial-level meeting on 11 January 2005 for Member States and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee to discuss and update support for the tsunami relief effort. At the meeting, USD 756 million were officially pledged towards the Flash Appeal by donors.
  • Latest figures as of 10 January 2005 are as follows:

Sri Lanka

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



According to the Department of Social Affairs the number of victims in Aceh and North Sumatra stands at 106,523 persons. 12,047 persons are reportedly missing and 694,760 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are living in temporary shelters and camps.

An aftershock measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale hit Aceh at 5 a.m. on 10 January 2005 (2200 GMT); there are no reports of casualties.

Agriculture and Fisheries

The Food and Agriculture Organization reported that many farmers have lost much of their tools, equipments and livestock. Fields have been levelled, water reservoirs, bunds and dykes destroyed, along with irrigation and drainage facilities. Small-scale fishery was the main economic activity in Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam Province and some 42,000 fishers and their families make their living on aquatic resources. Estimates suggest that about 70 percent of the small-scale fishing fleet was destroyed. In Nias Island preliminary estimates suggest that 800 fishing canoes were destroyed. Of the marine fish culture plants in Northern Sumatra, 1,000 cage farms have probably been destroyed. Brackish water aquaculture ponds that mainly produced shrimp and milkfish have been seriously damaged together with loss of machinery and equipment. Damages caused to support infrastructure such as channels, hatcheries, technical institutions may inhibit rehabilitation process. FAO continues to provide technical expertise to fisheries and soil salinity assessment, which could pose a major issue for reconstruction.


WFP will be the lead agency in relation to telecommunication and radio communication.

Child Protection

The Ministry of Social Welfare is sending registration forms to all orphanages in Indonesia for children taken out of Aceh during the crisis. The Government has also set up check points at airports, ports and other places to monitor and stop separated children from being taken out of Northern Sumatra. A temporary care centre for unaccompanied children is being set up in Banda Aceh by UNICEF in support of the Ministry of Social Welfare. UNICEF has made an investigation upon the registration and verification system to release children from hospitals.


UNICEF reported that 53 students including 15 internally displaced children attended the first primary school, which reopened on 10 January 2005. Relocation of IDPs from schools is a major issue. 5 schools in Banda Aceh are occupied by IDPs and 3 schools in Meulaboh by NGOs and the military. UNICEF also reported that a rapid assessment in 7 of 11 districts of Aceh shows that 420 schools have been destroyed and 1,200 teachers killed. UNICEF has been assigned to be the focal point for Education data and Information assistance to Aceh on behalf of the donor community.


The Ministry of Environment requested urgent assistance from UNEP in establishing an environmental crisis centre in Jakarta, providing environmental assistance to the Ministry of Environment in supporting a field assessment and in developing an action plan for addressing the environmental issues identified. UNEP staff were requested to remain in Jakarta in order to provide assistance to the Ministry of Environment in conducting an environmental needs assessment and developing a recovery plan. The assessment has been conducted from 4 to 12 January 2005. UNEP will work in cooperation with the national environmental authorities to identify the key environmental needs and ensure they are integrated into the recovery and reconstruction plans. On 11 January 2005, two additional UNEP experts were deployed to Jakarta to establish an environmental crisis centre, plan and participate in the needs assessments.

Food and non-food items

Distributions of WFP food were scheduled to start on 10 January 2005 in the northeast of Aceh province targeting 160,000 IDPs, bringing the total number of people being fed by WFP food to some 300,000 people. The 160,000 people, registered by non-governmental organizations in camps between Pidie and Lhokseumawe, would receive a full one-month ration of WFP food. UNICEF reported that the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Jakarta and Aceh have requested UNICEF to provide food for infants and young children. WHO, UNICEF and the Indonesian Society of Paediatricians have released and disseminated a Joint Statement on infant Feeding in Emergencies to partners (Government, NGOs, bilateral) in Jakarta and Aceh. UNICEF and WFP planned to coordinate food aid and nutrition interventions. WFP has established a presence in the ports of Meulaboh and Singkil on the west coast as it intensifies its operations. WFP is working with the following partners in Aceh and North Sumatra: Mercy Corps International, CARE, World Vision and Save the Children. IOM reported that the first IOM road convoy of 50 small trucks carrying relief supplies reached the devastated west Aceh town of Meulaboh on 11 January 2005. UNHCR reported that16.5 MT of emergency relief supplies and 3.5 MT of telecommunication supplies landed in Banda Aceh and will be ferried to Meulaboh on the west coast of Aceh.


The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that Measles immunisation campaigns have commenced in Northern Sumatra (Aceh and Medan) in response to a reported measles case in Banda Aceh and suspected cases in Meulaboh. The number of cases of different diseases is increasing, but no outbreaks reported. In Meulaboh, only one functional hospital remains in the outskirts of the city, which is supported by MSF, with one emergency room, one surgical suite and one inpatient ward of 20 beds. Field hospitals are being deployed by various donors.


Air operations:

  • Obtaining slot times at Banda Aceh and, to a lesser extent, Medan, continues to be problematic. Both airports are heavily congested.
  • Banda Aceh airport needs additional material handling equipment. The Danish military is offering to deploy loading/unloading equipment and a cargo handling team; their deployment is awaiting authorization from the Indonesian authorities.
  • The apron of Banda Aceh airport is full of rubbish and ground handling is unsafe.
  • Lhokseumawe airport is at maximum capacity with ICRC and the Indonesian Army (TNI) operating out of there.
  • There is adequate commercial fuel supply on the island of Sumatra, but the two existing fuel bowers are insufficient to transport the fuel from various airports/ports around the island to where it is needed in Banda Aceh. An additional two fuel bowers are required. Fuel storage capacity is adequate.

Road transport/shipping/ports:
  • In view of the bottleneck caused by airport congestion in Banda Aceh, shipping goods from Subang or Kuala Lumpur is being looked into as an alternative means of transport. However, at the present time there is no information on the capacity of Banca Aceh port to handle large ships.
  • Large parts of the road from Lhokseumawe to Meulaboh are not accessible to trucks and ordinary cars; only 4x4 vehicles can pass with difficulty over the last part of the road.


The GoI are making plans to establish 24 relocation sites for IDPs around Aceh Besar. TNI is planning to establish the camps within 2 weeks. The UN and humanitarian community have prepared a draft policy paper on guiding principles for the camps. UNICEF is reportedly planning to support the installation of water and sanitation facilities in all camps.

Water and Sanitation

Many organizations are addressing water and sanitation situation at the settlements through the provision of containers, bottled drinking water, disinfections tablets, water tanks, tap stands, trucked water, latrines, bathing facilities and soaps. YAPPIKA reported that clean water from artesian wells and sanitary stations have been opened at the Baiturahman Mosque in Banda Aceh as well as 60 other refugee spots. Jet pumps are being set up at the largest refugee camps at the TVRI compound in Banda Aceh. WHO indicated that access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation is still inadequate, basic sanitation infrastructure in Meulaboh is severely disrupted and safe water must be distributed from centralized points. Large-scale capacity containers and smaller containers for carrying are needed. UNICEF is supporting the construction of latrines and washing facilities at the IDP camps and in the schools.

Needs and requirements

The Department of Health requires the following items: Trauma counseling teams, mosquito nets for four districts in Nias, medical supplies (particularly vaccines), sleeping mats and beds for Meulaboh Hospital, masks, corpse gloves, and boots for corpse evacuation.

According to YAPPIKA, the following items are needed: Food (rice, oil, side-dish-food, baby food), clothes, personal hygiene sets, sleeping mats, blankets, medicine, fuel, cooking utensils, tents, radio, masks, environmental experts, and teaching and learning supplies and teams. For further requirements per location, please contact YAPPIKA at

Coordination mechanisms

The Government of Indonesia (GoI) established a Joint Disaster Management Centre (DMC) in Jakarta with the United Nations at the Office of the Vice-President. The establishment of the centre is aimed at setting priorities for the management and coordination of international relief efforts as well as to ensure that the Government and the UN are working with the same baseline data on the affected people.




A two-person FAO team from Sri Lanka arrived on 10 January 2005 to assess the impact of the tsunami on the fisheries and agriculture sectors. On 11 January 2005, they were on field visits to get an overview of the situation on the islands and returned to assist with the joint GoM-UN-IFI assessment.


The Ministry of Education’s reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts will focus on 79 schools across the country that have been affected to varying degrees.


A UNEP waste disposal expert arrived in Male and is working with the UNDAC environment specialist to complete the needs assessment for waste removal, which will feed into the joint Government of the Maldives-UN-IFI assessment.


A basic early warning electronic disease outbreak surveillance system is being put in place in the affected areas by WHO. WHO is coordinating with UNICEF, UNFPA and the Red Cross to develop a list of medical supplies and equipment that each agency can procure to replace those damaged.

Logistics, transport, communication

Logistics problems remain a serious issue. The Government does not have sufficient vessels to transport goods. Landing craft are needed to get small dozers/backhoes to clear up the rubble and to allow access to smaller lagoons around many islands. There is no need for helicopters. IFRC is delivering four rub halls. WFP is expected to provide two rub halls to store up to 1,000 MTs of relief supplies. An additional four rub halls are expected in the coming weeks. All mobile base stations are restored. Mobile phone coverage is now at pre-disaster levels. The lack of water supply on some islands is being adequately covered by desalination and water purification equipment, which is either in place or on the way. No additional water purification equipment has been requested.


Children’s nutrition is a growing concern. Sector meetings take place among the Government, WFP, UNICEF, WHO, UNFPA and Save the Children.


A 10-person team from the British navy has arrived and is assessing the status of generators and will make repairs as necessary. All but five islands have power, but of these islands, all are evacuated.

Psychosocial counseling

Two workshops are being held by UNFPA to address some of the psychosocial aspects of the disaster and what medical doctors and other health staff need to be aware of. UNFPA is supplying Mother and Baby Kits for the Tsunami affected expecting mothers. 100 such kits are being procured initially.


3,000 houses are uninhabitable and 4,700 need major repair or total reconstruction. In the next two days, the first stage of construction of temporary shelters will be completed in Hulumale (there will be accommodation for 4,000 people when complete). UNDP started minor repairs in Muli and Naalafushi.

Water and Sanitation

10-12 islands have reported water shortages (i.e., supplies of less then one week), but all islands have at least 3-4 days supply and mobile desalination plants are being deployed to replenish supplies. THW has rehabilitated 40 wells: 15 on Vilufushi island and 25 on Kohlufushi island.

Needs and Requirements

The GoM stated that as of 11 January, a list of requested items will be posted at the Crisis Centre, as well as information to whom the requests have been sent.

Transport and logistical coordination continue to remain the main priorities of the Government given the dispersion and the difficult conditions to be endured for aid delivery. Aid has to be delivered to each of the 200 islands individually and can only be done in small boats or using other means of light transport.

Coordination mechanisms

The Office of the UN RC has established a web site with information on disaster response in the Maldives. It includes information such as contact lists, assessment reports, government data, and meeting schedules. It can be accessed at

The GoM reiterated that manifests for aid shipments be sent to the Government well in advance to ensure more efficient processing and reduce bottlenecks. There is limited warehouse storage capacity at the airport. Please send manifests in advance to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of External Resources:; fax: +960 317 592; copied to the Task Force’s Aid Coordination Unit: and UNDP’s focal point for logistics:

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:



Latest official figures as of 11 January 2005:

Number of deaths: 30,882

Number of people missing: 6,088

Number of people displaced: 504,440

Sectoral update and Response


UNICEF is assisting the Ministry of Education in a rapid survey to ascertain how many schools re-opened on 10 January and how many children, teachers and principals are missing, confirmed dead or injured in all districts. In the coming weeks UNICEF hopes to strengthen the capacity of zonal education staff to enable them to collect more accurate information themselves. UNICEF and GTZ are working together to provide urgently needed psychosocial support to children through teachers trained as counselors. UNICEF is assisting the Ministry of Education with the construction of temporary schools and water points in affected areas in the short term, and the rebuilding, rehabilitation and development of educational infrastructure for affected children in the medium term.


The Central Environmental Authority requested urgent assistance from UNEP to work with national experts in assessing the environmental damage in the various sectors including coral reefs, shore erosion, coastal land use planning, water pollution, and soil contamination. Following the assessment, Sri Lanka’s top priority for UNEP assistance is in the development of a forward looking plan on coastal zone management and land use planning. UNEP is now in the process of supporting the national environmental authorities in finalizing the scope, framework and approach for the assessment.


According to the Representative of the Ministry of Health at the CNO meeting of 10 January 2005, no outbreaks of communicable diseases were reported. Monitoring for potential epidemics is being strengthened. At the moment there is no apparent need for additional health personnel, the key priorities being in the areas of transport and sanitation. The Ministry of Health requires vehicles to replace lost or damaged stock and damaged roads are hampering access to some areas. Waste disposal is a high priority. UNDAC rapid environmental impact assessment team is working with local authorities, starting in Galle district, to incorporate maximum recycling in the waste disposal process. UNICEF reported that it initiated a meeting of a national expert group from the Ministry of Health, Nutrition Department and College of Pediatrics to develop guidelines to protect, promote and support breastfeeding in emergencies. UNICEF has also advocated for supplementary food for children under the age of five and pregnant and lactating women. UNICEF is providing health promotion materials to several international NGOs to conduct health and hygiene promotion in the camps in Batticaloa.

UNICEF reported that a shipment of 40 boxes of essential drugs arrived on 11 January 2005, containing the following: paracetamol amoxicillin, metronidazole injection, glucose injections, povidone iodine solution.


World Food Programme reports a total assessed caseload of 750,000 people, and has distributed 5,900MT of food since 1 January 2005. WFP is preparing a needs assessment survey in the affected areas of Sri Lanka. This survey, which is being conducted in co-ordination with the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Center of Poverty Analysis (CEPA), will examine the impacts of the tsunami by focusing on issues including demographics (including household members who may have died), livelihoods, asset damages, food consumption, and most urgent needs facing the populations. The survey will involve interviews with approximately 1,600 individuals in eight affected districts (in the northern, southern and eastern areas). WFP further reports that 450 MT of pulses, 200 MT of sugar and 200 MT of oil are now being purchased locally.


The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that 19,637 fishing boats were destroyed/damaged or lost (about 66 percent of the fleet). The cost of repair/replacement of the above boats is estimated at USD 74.74 million. Harbour damage repair is estimated at USD 17 million. Other damage to ice plants, boat yards, research stations and laboratories is conservatively estimated at about USD 6.5 million, making a total damage repair bill of USD 98.24 million. Action plans of FAO include setting up temporary boat repair facilities at selected centres to augment existing boat building/repair capacity, which is not equal to the task with present production levels, to repair/replace the boats listed above. Expert teams of boat builders will be assembled to supervise the boat repair yards, with new moulds being installed. Maximum use will be made of existing boat building capacity. With the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, FAO is planning to restructure the industry to make it more efficient, environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Logistics/ Infrastructure

Following the completion of a security assessment, a WFP field office is now being opened in Ampara (east). WFP is planning to open another field office in Jaffna (north).WFP, together with UN Joint Logistics Centre, (UNJLC), is working on streamlining the customs clearances for airlifted non-food items. With a number of military actors involved in the response, the Logistics Operations Centre shall include a Civil-Military Coordination component and be the main information ex-change platform between the military entities involved in the emergency response and the international humanitarian community. Attached to the Logistics Operations Centre will be an Air Cell to assist and prioritize requirements for air transportation and provide timely and accurate information on air transport operations. It will further assist with air movement control of cargo and persons as well as tasking and prioritisation of air assets.

Non-Food Items

30,000 packs of sanitary towels procured by UNICEF and 1,500 bottles (1.5 liters) mineral water donated by the Czech government arrived in Colombo on 11 January 2005. UNHCR reports that in Trincomalee, trucks are being loaded for NFIs distribution for 900 families in Kuchaveli. 404 full packages were distributed in Town and Gravets and 175 in Kuchchaveli. In addition 900 kitchen sets were distributed in Kuchchaveli division. In Batticaloa, UNHCR is working with the British military to airlift Non-Food Items to Kallar area which is totally cut off from Batticaloa and Ampara districts. Approximately 1,500 IDP are living in the island.


WFP reports that a security assessment is currently being carried out in the districts of Ampara and Batticaloa (east). The rest of affected districts do not require an immediate security assessment. One initial security concern in the northeast is the prevalence of landmines, as the tsunami removed some of the markings, which indicated where the mines had been laid. A WFP security officer (participating in the security assessments) reported that threats due to mines have been minimized, as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has cleared and marked roads accordingly. Staff have been cautioned to drive only on the roads that were cleared and marked by LTTE.

Water and Sanitation

UNICEF is working with the Ministry of Urban Development and Water Supply, WHO, World Vision, Oxfam, and ICRC to develop hygiene promotion and water and sanitation materials. Latrines construction continues in Trincomalee, Kucheveli, Eachilampathu, and Muthur. WHO is focusing on water quality surveillance, hygiene promotion and training of field staff. WHO, the Ministry of Health and operational partners are strengthening the public health lab backup and basic early warning electronic disease surveillance system in the affected areas.

Coordination mechanisms

In Batticaloa, the Government Agent (GA) has formed an operational disaster management committee bringing together local authorities, NGOs and UN agencies to form sectoral task forces. Eight task force groups have been formed focusing on health; welfare; infrastructure; water and sanitation; food; fisheries; housing and education. UNICEF is the international agency sector lead for water and sanitation; education and jointly with ICRC for welfare. Each task force is chaired by a Government official.

Detailed information on the relief effort is available on website of the Centre for National Operations (CNO)



The Royal Thai Government (RTG) reported that the death toll now stands at 5,303. 8,457 people have been injured and 3,396 are still missing/unidentified.

The total number of people directly affected by the disaster (suffered loss of a family member or home) is about 91,600.

Sectoral update and Response

Agriculture and Fisheries

FAO reported that some 4,500 fishing boats were either damaged or totally wrecked (75 percent small-scale fishing boats). Estimates indicate that 2,920 fishery households were affected and damages on fisheries alone would amount to USD 16.6 million. Eight harbours are severely damaged. Many farmers have lost much of their tools, equipments and livestock.

Body recovery and forensics

The RTG Cabinet confirmed that the Government will continue to support efforts to recovery the estimated 1,000 bodies still missing. It was also reported that forensic teams are now able to conduct DNA tests on 90 – 150 bodies per day, substantially speeding up the identification process. At this rate, the RTG expects the forensic process to be completed within a month.


More schools re-opened and students started attending school. Teachers are making home visits in order to encourage students to return to school. These home visits are also valuable in identifying children and parents in distress who are in need of professional support.


The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment requested urgent UNEP expertise and support to carry out the initial damage assessment, and to prepare response plans and projects. On 8 January 2005, UNEP was invited to become the focal point for the environment in the UNDP-led “Inter-agency Mission for an Initial Assessment of the Socio/Environmental and Shelter Impacts and Requirements”. This assessment is taking place between 10 and14 January 2005.

Protection and Psycho-Social Support

UNICEF continues to monitor the registration of orphans. So far 358 orphans out of 6 affected provinces have been identified, 30 of whom lost both parents. These children are living with their single parents and others have been under the care of relatives. Less than 10 of the orphans are under the care of provincial child reception homes managed by the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security. On 10 January 2005, a psycho-social support team of 36 persons started working in Ranong province. This team, with UNICEF support, will gradually move along the coast, working with teachers, pupils and parents of affected schools. The Department of Mental Health will establish a specific centre for one year in the Khao Lak area.

Coordination mechanisms

The Cabinet announced that the National Operation Centre in Phuket will remain open until 22 February 2005. The Thai Prime Minister urged foreign embassies to ensure that emergency arrangements are in place to assist with the coordination of any future disasters.

The contact point within the RTG for offering pledges of international assistance is the Humanitarian Relief Coordinator, Mr. Nopadol Gunavibool, Director-General, Department of East Asian Affairs. He can be reached at +66-2-6435191.

Disaster database established

The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) has commissioned the Software Information Promotion Agency (SIPA) based in Phuket to establish a tsunami damage and rehabilitation information database. SIPA is a research organization under the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology. The SIPA/DDPM database will contain information from each of the affected provinces on damage assessments (including loss of life/injury, property, livelihoods, public places and environmental damage), as well as provincial rehabilitation/recovery plans. SIPA and DDPM have dispatched approximately 60,000 questionnaires to affected provinces (distributed to provincial, district and sub-district levels) to gather this information.


The Combined Support Force (CSF-536) has its headquarters in U-Tapao, Thailand with three Combined Support Groups (CSGs) located in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Request for Assistance (RFA) forms for movement of cargo, people and other required assistance and the Guidance Paper are posted on Reliefweb, on the Virtual OSOCC under the Civil Military discussion group. A Regional Civil Military Coordination Cell has been established with the Combined Support Force. OCHA deployed Civil Military Coordination Officers to Bangkok, U-Tapao, Colombo, Banda Aceh and Medan.

The airport of Subang in Malaysia is available for accepting strategic airlifts. Ground handling and storage will be available. Parking space is sufficient for four wide-bodied aircrafts. Aircraft movements should be staggered by 2 hours. Slot times will be coordinated by UNJLC. Further dispatching will be done by C130 and coordinated between the Malaysian authorities, UNJLC and HAS.

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


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.

Tel. +41-22-917 1234
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23/06 28

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

Desk Officers:

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

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