On 26 December 2004, a massive earthquake off the west coast of Northern Sumatra led to movement along a 1,200km section of the sea floor. This generated a series of tsunamis that killed people in 14 countries around the Indian Ocean. Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, India and Thailand were the hardest hit. Entire coastal zones were destroyed, with the tsunamis causing damage up to 3km inland in some cases. Over 227,000 people lost their lives and some 1.7 million were displaced. A massive media-fuelled, global response resulted, producing an estimated US$13.5bn in international aid.
The total economic cost of the damage and the consequent losses was estimated at US$9.9bn across the affected region, with Indonesia accounting for almost half of the total.
Co-operatives UK launched an appeal specifically for longer-term reconstruction through co-operative enterprises and the Co-operatove College was asked to manage the fund.
Co-operatives were helped in Aceh, Indonesia, Tamil Nadu and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands in India. The College worked closely with the International Co-operative Alliance, local co-operative enterprises and national co-operative movements to support grassroots co-operative reconstruction.
The tsunami reconstruction programme has been documented in a Co-operative College publication called After the Angry Sea.