The 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami

Ten years since the Asian tsunami disaster

By Wije Dias, 27 December 2014

December 26 marked the 10th anniversary of the Indian Ocean tsunami in which some 230,000 people lost their lives. We repost here a speech that was delivered by Wije Dias, the general secretary of the Socialist Equality Party in Sri Lanka, on February 4, 2005.

Sri Lanka: Victims still live in misery five years after tsunami

By Panini Wijesiriwardena, 29 December 2009

Five years after the 2004 tsunami, many survivors in Sri Lanka do not have proper housing, jobs and services, and poverty is still rampant.

One year after the Asian tsunami: an indictment of the profit system

By Wije Dias (General Secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka)), 31 December 2005

A year has gone by since the December 26 tsunami devastated the coastal belts of 12 countries from north Sumatra in South East Asia to Somalia and Kenya on the west coast of Africa. But a man-made disaster of massive proportions continues to blight the lives of the millions of survivors who still languish in appalling conditions without proper shelter, jobs, health care or education facilities for their children.

On-the-spot report

Tsunami victims struggling to survive in eastern Sri Lanka

By M. Aravindan and Sarath Kumara, 23 July 2005

A World Socialist Web Site reporting team recently visited the eastern Ampara district of Sri Lanka and spoke to survivors of the tsunami that devastated much of the coastal belt on December 26. According to local officials, about 25,000 people were killed and another 166,000 were left homeless in the district. Six months later, more than 40,000 victims are still living in inadequate accommodation with little or no government financial assistance.

Needless tsunami deaths expose worldwide vulnerability and lack of US intervention

11 February 2005

The following commentary was submitted by World Socialist Web Site reader Christine Smith, a free-lance writer and social justice activist.

A socialist and internationalist perspective to confront the Asian tsunami disaster

By Wije Dias, 9 February 2005

The following speech was delivered by Wije Dias, the general secretary of the Socialist Equality Party in Sri Lanka and a member of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site, at a public meeting in Sydney on February 4 on the consequences of the Asian tsunami.

Australia’s tsunami aid package: neo-colonialism laced with hypocrisy

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 28 January 2005

The $A1 billion “Australia-Indonesia Partnership for Reconstruction and Development” pact that Prime Minister John Howard announced with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Jakarta in early January was motivated by considerations that have nothing to do with humanitarianism. On the contrary, the Australian government has seized on the terrible impact of the Asian tsunami as the pretext for furthering its economic and strategic interests in Indonesia and throughout South East Asia.

Why has India blocked foreign tsunami aid to the Nicobar and Andaman islands?

By Parwini Zora and Daniel Woreck, 25 January 2005

The remote Andaman and Nicobar group suffered a devastating blow from the December 26 tsunami. The low-lying and mostly uninhabited chain of 572 islands in the Bay of Bengal was the closest Indian territory to the epicentre of the massive earthquake. As well as being swamped by the sea, it was hit by a series of substantial aftershocks.

The social roots of the tsunami disaster

By the Editorial Board, 22 January 2005

The devastation caused by the Asian tsunami was not inevitable. On the contrary, it constitutes a powerful demonstration of the irrational and inhuman nature of the profit system. It is true that the immediate causes lay in forces of nature currently beyond the power of mankind to control. But it was entirely within the bounds of modern technology to prevent the vast majority of the suffering, death and damage that has occurred.

Thai government puts tourism ahead of the poor in tsunami relief effort

By John Roberts, 17 January 2005

In the wake of the December 26 tsunami, Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawarta has focused his government’s efforts on restoring the lucrative tourist industry, which contributes 6 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. The suffering of those who have lost friends and family members, together with the plight of villagers who have lost their homes and possessions, has been relegated to second place.

Sri Lankan president puts military in charge of relief operations

By Wije Dias, 14 January 2005

In an extraordinary move on January 3, Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga placed all relief efforts on the island under the control of the armed forces. The following day, in a decision that received no publicity, she imposed a state of emergency in the affected areas, providing the military with extensive powers.

Powell declares tsunami aid part of global war on terror

Imperialism in Samaritan’s clothing

By Bill Van Auken, 6 January 2005

During his whirlwind tour of the tsunami-devastated nations of South Asia, US Secretary of State Colin Powell let slip that the begrudging and belated funding offered by Washington to the ongoing relief effort is all part of its “global war on terror.”

Letters on the tsunami disaster

6 January 2005

The following is a selection of letters to the World Socialist Web Site on the South Asia tsunami disaster.

In the wake of tsunami calamity

Indonesian army steps up war in Aceh

By John Roberts, 5 January 2005

There are growing signs that the Indonesian military (TNI) is exploiting the current catastrophe in northern Sumatra to crush the separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and establish its unchallenged control over the resource-rich province of Aceh.

India: over 14,000 dead and hundreds of thousands displaced

By Arun Kumar, 4 January 2005

The tsunami that killed over 140,000 people in southern Asia has taken at least 14,000 lives in India. Nine days after the catastrophe, Indian governments at the state and federal levels have yet to establish relief operations in a number of areas. This slow and inadequate response is now threatening thousands more lives as epidemics begin to emerge.

The Asian tsunami: why there were no warnings

By Peter Symonds, 3 January 2005

As the horrifying toll of death and destruction continues to mount in southern Asia, it becomes ever more obvious that lives could have been saved if a tsunami warning system had been in place. With just 15 to 30 minutes notice, and clear directives to flee, many people who had no idea what was happening, or how to react, could have escaped to safety.

On-the-spot report from Sri Lanka

Working with a medical team in Hambantota

By Ajitha Gunaratna, 3 January 2005

As soon as the magnitude of the tsunami disaster became apparent, hundreds of Sri Lankan health workers, including doctors and nurses from Colombo’s National Hospital of Sri Lanka (NHSL) immediately volunteered for medical relief work. The offices of the director and matron of the NHSL accident service coordinated the effort, while the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) and a group of nurses dispatched medical crews to affected areas. But they were working on their own initiative, largely without assistance or coordination from government authorities.