Making Peace When Disaster Strikes: Sri Lanka, Aceh, and the 2004 Tsunami

Photo by S. Baker,

On the day after Christmas 2004, a powerful 9.0 magnitude earthquake under the Indian Ocean off of northern Sumatra sent massive waves crashing against the coastlines of countries as far away as Kenya and Madagascar. This tsunami killed or left missing some 226,000 people and displaced an estimated 1.7 million more in fourteen Asian and African countries. Damage to property—infrastructure, residences, government buildings, and commercial establishments—was enormous. Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and the Maldives were the most seriously affected. The cata­strophic tsunami boosted on efforts to bring about a negotiated settlements of the insurgency then raging in Aceh, Indonesia; it had the opposite effect in Sri Lanka.

Read full report by Howard Schaffer, released by the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy.

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