Emergency Management: A Reference Handbook

By Jeffrey B. Bumgarner | Go to book overview

3
Worldwide Perspective

On December 26, 2004, a large earthquake struck off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The earthquake itself caused significant damage to nearby villages and towns and killed hundreds. However, the far greater disaster was yet to come. The earthquake had triggered a series of tsunamis that struck the coasts of more than a dozen countries along the Indian Ocean. Astonishingly, more than 280,000 people lost their lives as a result of the tsunamis. More than 1.6 million people were left homeless. Indonesia was hardest hit, with more than 160,000 dead and a half-million left homeless. However, other countries also suffered astronomical casualty levels. Sri Lanka lost more than 35,000 people to the tsunamis, and India and Thailand lost more than 18,000 and 8,000, respectively. This was the most costly tsunami, in lives and property, in recorded world history.

The United States and other developed countries immediately pledged support to help the stricken countries to recover. President George W. Bush quickly offered more than $350 million in aid. He then went to Congress to secure $600 million more. Americans followed the story closely and were horrified at the level of destruction. Further, many in the West were amazed to learn that a large number of North American and European citizens were victims of the tsunamis as well. Some of the hardest-hit areas in Indonesia were popular tourist attractions prior to the disaster. Among Western countries, Sweden was probably affected the most—losing nearly 500 of its citizens on that day.

Few disasters in recent history have served as such an object lesson regarding the need for global cooperation and coordination of emergency management efforts, that is, mitigation,

-73-

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Emergency Management: A Reference Handbook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xiii
  • 1 - Background and History 1
  • 2 - Problems, Controversies, and Solutions 33
  • 3 - Worldwide Perspective 73
  • 4 - Chronology 105
  • 5 - Biographical Sketches 129
  • 6 - Data and Documents 155
  • 7 - Directory of Organizations 199
  • 8 - Resources 237
  • Glossary 267
  • Index 277
  • About the Author 293
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