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Special focus: Volunteers' role in 2004 tsunami relief & recovery
Red Cross volunteers in Suwon, south of Seoul, South Korea,  organize emergency relief kits on Dec 27 2004  to be sent to Indonesia for victims of the weekend's quake-triggered tsunami. (Photo by Reuters)
On 26 December 2004, devastating tsunamis hit Indonesia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, leaving an estimated 150,000 people dead and hundreds of thousands displaced and homeless in South Asia. The post-tsunami relief and rehabilitation operations going on in the region are the biggest ever undertaken in history.

One of the important resources in the massive recovery effort has been volunteers. Even before the governments could deliver aid to the distant and devastated regions, volunteers joined hands to help the survivors as much as possible.

In this special section, read how volunteers have been helping the tsunami survivors -- from food distribution, searching for missing loved ones, burying the dead and providing emotional support to coordinating and managing the rebuilding initiatives. 


05 May 2006
Rebuilding Sri Lanka one house at a time 
Like many people, in the wake of the 2004 tsunami disaster Kimberley Sevcik had an urge to race to an affected region and help with the recovery efforts. She found that while the need was urgent then, there are still many ways to contribute to the rebuilding of communities affected by the disaster.   Read article

Barbara Barr, has already knitted more than 200 "trauma teds", which are shipped to children across the world. (Courtesy Peterborough Today)
03 May 2006
Senior volunteer knits cuddly comfort for children 
Barbara Barr, a pensioner is bringing comfort to hundreds of children around the world by knitting teddy bears in front of the TV. She has already knitted 200 "trauma teds" that are shipped to countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.    Read article

28 April 2006
Tsunami volunteers connect with Katrina peers, in spirit & act 
Tsunami relief workers from Indonesia who recently toured the Hurricane Katrina damage sites say they are impressed by the spirit of volunteerism in the USA. They hope that the spirit can be created in Indonesia.  Read article

Thilini and her younger brother Krish on the field behind the tsunami relief camp in Sri Lanka where the children play. (Photo: Courtesy The Weston Town Crier)
12 December 2005
Bringing joy to kids’ life in Sri Lankan tsunami camp 
After a year at Mount Holyoke College, Weston High School graduate Julie Angiolillo decided to try something completely different. In early September she left for Sri Lanka to volunteer at the Kalutara North Tsunami Camp. She considers the connections she made with the children to be one of her greatest achievements.  Read article

Local volunteers in a relay helping transport incoming relief goods from vehicles into a makeshift relief centre at the Rupavahini television channel's office, which opened to the general public for donations in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 27 Dec. 2004. (Photo by Indranil Mukherjee/ AFP/ Getty Images)
22 November 2005
Disasters give volunteerism a new image 
Catastrophes, such as October’s South Asian earthquake and last December’s Indian Ocean tsunami, have given volunteerism a new role and respectability. Earlier this month, international volunteer organizations discussed how their programmes could meet the growing demand of disaster volunteering.  Read article

21 November 2005
Volunteer vacations: Contributing while on holiday 
Volunteer vacation is becoming more popular in recent years,  experts say, particularly since the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks and the Southeast Asian tsunami in December 2004. People want to do more than just give money.   Read article

A tsunami survivor in Meulaboh is determined to rebuild her community. (Photo: Cassandra Nelson/Mercy Corps)
11 November 2005
Aceh: Empowering tsunami victims to rebuild their lives 
Deborah Tomasowa of Mercy Corps was in Banda Aceh with other volunteers, days after last December's tsunami struck, helping deliver aid and return a sense of normalcy to those affected. Nine months later, they now focus on long-term recovery and sustainable development.  Read article

14 October 2005
Tsunami aid effort holds lessons for Pakistan  
As in the December 26 tsunami, the initial response after the Pakistan quake has come most quickly from volunteers. In drawing lessons from the recent tsunami, the most reported and well-funded disaster in history, humanitarian aid experts are comparing aid deliveries in both disaster events.  Read article

02 September 2005
Volunteer doctors show ways to improve world by travelling 
The French non-profit Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) has earned a reputation for providing critical medical care in some of the world’s most dangerous and desperate places. This piece from the San Francisco Chronicle tracks the experiences of a few of the volunteer physicians who opted to become doctors without borders.  Read article

12 August 2005
Singapore helps victims of tsunami disaster 
Volunteers have packed some 320 aids, including wheelchairs, commodes, crutches and walking frames, to be shipped to Banda Aceh for victims of the tsunami disaster.  Read article

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