8 December 2014 - Ten years on from the Indian Ocean tsunami, which killed almost 250,000 people on Boxing Day 2004, Christian Aid is marking the anniversary by launching Tsunami: 10 years after the wave, an online exhibition that features work – including previously unpublished images - by photographer Tim Hetherington.
Photo: Christian Aid / Tim A. Hetherington. Further photos below.
Tim, who was killed while working in Libya in 2011, travelled to Sri Lanka and India with Christian Aid as part of a commission for the exhibition Every time I see the sea, which marked the one-year anniversary in 2005. His thoughtful and emotionally intense images helped to capture the mood of a coastal community learning to trust again.
At the time, Tim told Christian Aid: “I was at home on the 26th December with my family. Like many other people, I switched on the TV. Two weeks later, I found myself in Banda Aceh. The amount of immediate death and destruction was on a massive scale. I had never seen anything like it in my life.”
“When I was asked to come to Sri Lanka, I came with that baggage, with those images in my mind. What I am trying here to do is create a continuum of that work – that does not just stay with images of destruction but moves the story onwards.”
Tim wanted to explore how people felt about the ocean, “I was interested in the relationship that people have with the sea. They lived by it; they needed it and used it. When the tsunami came, it challenged that relationship.”
The new online exhibition explains how Christian Aid spent £45 million, the majority donated by the UK public, over five years – rebuilding homes, providing trauma therapy and supporting people to get back to work.
It also examines how the 2004 tsunami triggered a global change in humanitarian response work - including better UN coordination and funding, more emphasis on vulnerable communities preparing for disasters, greater use of local organisations and more accountability to the recipients of aid.
Christian Aid’s head of humanitarian, Nick Guttmann said, “If the world had been better prepared, if early warning systems had been in place, and if vulnerable communities had been prepared to respond to a disaster like this, thousands of lives could have been saved.
“During Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines last year many people survived because at-risk communities were well prepared, early warning systems were in place - alerting them to rising waters and cyclones – as well as comprehensive evacuation plans; ensuring people know when to leave their homes and where to go. These simple techniques make a huge difference and are often the difference between life and death.”’
To find out more, visit www.christianaid.org.uk/tsunami
Link to films of Tim at work Tsunami portraits & after the tsunami
Hear Nick Guttmann on Audioboom
For press images contact the press office.
If you would like further information, please firstname.lastname@example.org call 020 7523 2444. For 24 hour press duty phone – 07850 242950
Photos: Christian Aid / Tim A. Hetherington
Notes to editors:
1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 50 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.
2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.
3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. Further details at http://actalliance.org
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5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk