Atwood. "It doesn't always work that well—[it was] totally without bureaucracy!"
In the immediate aftermath of the tsunami, Atwood and other UNICEF staff were tending to the medical and psychological needs of children, including orphans. In addition, he collaborated with government and other agency counterparts on the transition from the emergency response to recovery and rehabilitation. Aldis's focus was on reconstructing health facilities, helping to identify the thousands and thousands of bodies, "including about 2,000 tourists who were on the wrong beach at the wrong time in Thailand," Aldis says. "Most of the time Stephen and I spent our time doing stuff that we weren't taught—and couldn't have imagined—back at DMS."
The emergency response may be over, but the recovery work will be ongoing for many years. Homes, schools, businesses, and health-care facilities are being reconstructed. Water and sanitation systems are being restored. Efforts are being made to help put fishermen and other people back to work. And physicians and mental-health workers are tending to the physical and mental health of the survivors.
What worked and what didn't
After a disaster, water supplies are often contaminated and sanitation is poor, so outbreaks of cholera, dysentery, and other infectious diseases are common, especially in resource-poor, developing countries. But there were no major disease outbreaks after the tsunami, according to WHO, thanks to the success of timely preventive measures, such as chlorinating water, setting up early warning systems for disease, and using anti-vector sprays.
Every effort was made to help survivors return as soon as possible to a normal life. Shelters were set up fairly quickly, and within a couple of months most
Out of the rubble appeared more people living in makeshift lean-tos and huts, with plastic sheets partially covering upright sticks defining small spaces where a family or group of people was sheltered.
children were back in school. "More than 90% of 150,000 [Indonesian] children were returned to schools in the first months following the tsunami," says Atwood, adding that UNICEF has been helping to build both temporary and permanent schools. "This return to a more normal life has contributed to the restoration of psychosocial health in these children and their families."
But everything isn't back to normal yet—except maybe for the frustrating bureaucracy and maddening delays in decision-making that were the norm before the tsunami. "People are still living in tents in both Aceh and Nias, and some of these tent camps—rapidly erected at the time of the tsunami—are in undesirable locations that flood during the