The Southeast Asia tsunami destroyed homes, wiped out villages and killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people on the morning of December 26, 2004. In India, AmeriCares immediately dispatched emergency relief personnel to support the Ministry of Health and the State of Tamil Nadu in conducting a comprehensive health assessment. In the days and weeks following, AmeriCares quickly delivered seven emergency airlifts of medical aid and relief supplies for survivors in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and India, including 36 tons of medicines, supplies, nutritional supplements, water purification treatments and other aid valued at over $8 million to Chennai. These relief supplies were distributed to more than 30 hospitals and clinics throughout 11 of the worst affected districts in Tamil Nadu, including Nagapattinam and Cuddalore. But our work didn’t end there.
An unprecedented outpouring of support allowed AmeriCares to undertake our largest relief effort to date, investing $46 million over the past five years to rebuild schools, hospitals, water systems and livelihoods for survivors across the region. AmeriCares selected projects based on the carefully assessed needs of the affected communities, the impact on each community, and the cost-effectiveness of each investment.
One of AmeriCares largest tsunami relief projects to date is the new, $3.5 million wing at the District Base Hospital at Elpitiya in Sri Lanka, which was inundated with patients after the tsunami because so many other hospitals were destroyed or overburdened. AmeriCares recently completed construction on the four-story addition that houses patient wards, two operating rooms, a blood bank, updated laboratory and maternity ward with nine private delivery rooms – a first in the region.
The hospital addition increased the medical services offered and added 150 beds – doubling the number of patients served. AmeriCares also fully equipped the new wing with the necessary medical equipment and furniture.
“The improvements made by AmeriCares will allow the hospital to provide a higher level care for expectant mothers and other patients for years to come,” said Rachel Granger who oversees AmeriCares Tsunami Relief Program. “Patients who previously had to travel long distances for specialized care can now get the services they need right in Elpitiya.”
Thanks to the improvements made by AmeriCares, the Ministry of Health plans to make the Elpitiya hospital a teaching facility in the future.
AmeriCares other tsunami relief efforts in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and India include:
- More than 40 health care facilities built or renovated
- Nearly 100 hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities outfitted with new medical equipment and re-stocked with medicines
- More than 20,000 health care workers trained
- More than 7,500 families received job training and other livelihood support
- More than 20 schools rebuilt or renovated
- Over 20 community water systems built to provide clean water
Years Later, Tsunami Recovery Continues with a $100,000 AmeriCares Grant
Years after the devastating tsunami, AmeriCares continued its support of recovery efforts by partnering with Project Concern International India (PCI) to fund a program aimed at improving the health and disaster preparedness status of 22 of the most affected tsunami villages in the districts of Nagapattinam and Karaikal, Tamil Nadu. During the fifteen months of its implementation, the AmeriCares grant to PCI made remarkable progress in improving the health status of the Tsunami affected communities, empowering people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), and building the capacity of communities & Community Based Organizations (CBOs) in disaster preparedness and management.
The following list highlights of the program’s success:
- 24,646 beneficiaries received medical attention through 892 mobile clinic visits and health camps.
- 511 clients have been screened through laboratory tests, including screening for HIV.
- 568 ante-natal mothers and malnourished children received consultation, guidance and nutritional supplements through PCI’s immunization camps.
- A total of 498 clients were counseled on family, psychosocial, drug addiction and other health issues.
- 204 PLWHAs were registered and provided with a range of vital services.
- A total of 612 (follow up cases included) PLWHA have been treated for opportunistic infections.
- 101 PLWHA were provided with nutritional supplements.
- 500 low income SHG women were enrolled and benefited from PCI’s low cost health insurance program.
- 12 evacuation routes were collaboratively designed and charted on the walls in target villages.
- 12 Disaster Management Committees formed and trained in disaster mitigation and management.
- Resource materials on critical issues, such as handbooks, stickers and directories, were developed, shared and utilized by target populations.