When the tsunami hit, charity came pouring in from far and wide for the countries affected, including Indonesia. A year later, in the Indonesian province of Aceh, Muharram Idris, a former rebel commander who watched as the sea swallowed his village and family, now scoots around on a red motorcycle, tending to the business of peace.
The ethnic separatist guerrillas he once led have turned in their weapons and are retooling themselves as a political party. Tsunami aid helped quiet a 30-year-old civil war.
In Sri Lanka, the tsunami seemed to dangle the hope of reconciliation. It struck both government-held land and territory controlled by the Tamil rebels, and it brought the two sides together to heal and divide aid. Unfortunately, squabbles over aid combined with the legacy of recrimination have since worsened the conflict
In both Sri Lanka and Indonesia, nearly all tsunami-affected children are back at school. Swift intervention averted major outbreaks of disease. In Sri Lanka, 70 to 85 percent of adults who lost their livelihoods have regained their main source of income, and 41 of the island's 52 damaged hotels are open for business, according to a report prepared jointly by the United Nations and the government.
All told, the tsunami generated a record $13.6 billion in aid pledges, according to the United Nations.
Just as rare, donor countries kept their promises. The United Nations Office of the Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery says 75 percent of the $10.5 billion pledged for reconstruction of tsunami-affected countries has been secured; by comparison, independent studies have found that no more than 10 percent of aid pledges were honored after the 2003 earthquake in Bam, Iran.
[Source: Article by Somini Sengupta and Seth Mydansin, The New York Times]