accessibility & help

Red Cross marks tsunami anniversary with interactive challenge

Wednesday 9th December
For further information please contact

Mark South

telephone: +44(0)20 7877 7042
out of office hourse: 07659145095

Five years ago this Boxing Day the Asian tsunami unleashed a wave of destruction stretching thousands of miles, creating a devastating trail of human suffering.
In minutes, millions of people’s lives were changed forever, and the world faced the huge challenge of responding to a disaster the like of which no-one had ever seen.
To mark the fifth anniversary of the disaster, the British Red Cross has taken an innovative look back at the tragedy, the long road to recovery and the foundations which have been laid for a brighter, safer future.
Through a new interactive challenge, ‘Decisions for Recovery’, the British Red Cross is asking people in the UK and around the world to put themselves in the shoes of those who led recovery from the disaster.
Drawing from the real-life dilemmas Red Cross staff faced, ‘Decisions for Recovery’, puts you in the hot seat.
When so many are suffering, who do you help first? What kind of help do you offer and how do you decide between quick fixes which meet immediate needs and frustratingly slow but sustainable long-term projects?  
As a disaster recovery manager for the British Red Cross, it’s up to you to direct and co-ordinate the Tsunami response, help rebuild lives and recover a future for people who have lost everything.
“The challenges were enormous, the decisions – as people visiting the website will see - were incredibly difficult, but today I feel very proud of what the Red Cross achieved to help rebuild people’s lives and, more than that, build them back stronger,” said Alastair Burnett, British Red Cross disaster recovery manager.
“We were faced with the most difficult decisions of our lives, decisions that affected hundreds of thousands of people whose lives were destroyed by the tsunami.
“The support we received from the public was phenomenal and enabled us to mount our largest recovery effort since the Second World War. Now we want to tell the story of how the money people gave was spent and the difference it has made to people’s lives.”
With a strong role-play element to encourage those taking part to really consider the difficult choices made in recovering from a major disaster, ‘Decisions for Recovery’ launches at on Wednesday 9th December.


For more information on the British Red Cross recovery operations, please visit:

Notes to editors

British Red Cross spokespeople, case studies and images of tsunami affected communities are available on request.
Screen grabs of the interactive challenge are available.

3 – kilometres that the wave travelled inland
9 – number on the Richter scale of the earthquake triggering the tsunami
13 – number of countries affected
20 – metres high – the wave that hit Indonesia
40 – the number of countries with people dead in the tsunami
500 – km per hour the wave travelled at
23,000 – equivalent number of Hiroshima-sized atomic bombs it would take to release as much energy
30,000 - Red Cross volunteers involved in the operation
230,000 – total people that died
500,000 – number of people injured
1,500,000 – children wounded, displaced or lost their family
4,500,000 - people who received recovery assistance from the Red Cross
5,000,000 - people who lost homes, or access to food and water
£84.9m - Total spent by the British Red Cross on the recovery operation
2,936 - Total houses built by British Red Cross
133,962 - Total number of people the British Red Cross helped to regain their livelihood, or to gain a new trade

The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.

We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.