Tsunami Response: Psychosocial Care Report

On 26th December 2004 the Asian Ocean Tsunami claimed the lives of over 300,000 people and left many more displaced, homeless, and irrecoverably changing lives.
Action Aid responded to the mammoth disaster with a multi-country emergency programme, targeting the most vulnerable in coastal regions of India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Thailand and Somalia.
Amidst wide-scale humanitarian relief, medical assistance and food distributions, Action Aid recognised the essential need for community-based social reconstruction. The need to rebuild hope, trust and confidence in shattered societies.
Based on experience from previous large-scale disaster responses, Action Aid recognised the importance of rapidly rebuilding support mechanisms and community-based social structures.
Using the community-based psychosocial care approach, Action Aid has set about empowering communities through rebuilding hope, confidence and giving people a voice to speed up the recovery process.
This study aims to understand the processes of establishing and implementing the psychosocial support programme in three of the five tsunami response countries – the Maldives, India and Sri Lanka – during the first twelve months since the tsunami.
This report focuses upon the information gathered during the research from respondents who were specifically asked for their suggestions/ opinions concerning strengthening psychosocial support in disaster situations. The research described in this report documents guiding principles for psychosocial programmes adopted in the three countries. This report aims to bring conceptual clarity to psychosocial support interventions and addresses the important questions of ‘how’ and ‘why’, as well as high lighting potential operational challenges. The hope is that this will be a learning tool to guide psychosocial support implementation for future emergencies.

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