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On the 26th of December, the fourth largest earthquake since 1900 struck deep in the sea north of Aceh province in Indonesia. The quake, which was estimated to have had an impact comparable to the detonation of a million atomic bombs, triggered tsunamis that devastated populations and economies throughout the Bay of Bengal. All told, the waves killed over 150,000 people and injured thousands more, taking the lives of people as far away as Somalia. Public health experts fear that disease may now strike down just as many people. With adequate warning of the earthquake, proper communication and prompt reactions would likely have saved thousands of lives. To that end, the United Nations has now launched a tsunami early warning system for the region. Promises of aid have come from many countries, some of which, such as Pakistan's donation to India, are highly politicized. All told, more than US$ 3 billion has been pledged for humanitarian and recovery assistance thus far.

This month CIAO examines natural disasters and humanitarian relief efforts.

From CIAO's database:

Thinking About Environmental Security: Southeast Asia and the Americas in Comparative Perspective

Population, Poverty, and Vulnerability: Mitigating the Effects of Natural Disasters

Risks and Rights: The Causes, Consequences, and Challenges of Development-Induced Displacement

Humanitarian Aid and Intervention: The Challenges of Integration

Outside Links*:

USAID: Earthquake and Tsunami Relief

AusAID: Indian Ocean Disaster

Doctors Without Borders

International Relief Organizations

The Basics: Life of a Tsunami (USGS)

NOAA and the Indian Ocean Tsunami

* Outside links are not maintained. For broken outside links, CIAO recommends the Way Back Machine [].