Boxing Day tsunami Boxing Day tsunami

Ten years on, we say thanks for caring Australia

Ten years on, we say thanks for caring Australia

You, the Australian public, donated over $42 million to CARE Australia after the devastating tsunami in December 2004.

This allowed us to make a huge contribution to CARE’s global response.

From 2004 to 2011, we helped more than 1.3 million people in many of the worst affected communities in India, Indonesia, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Now, 10 years on, the people that you helped would like to say: Thank you Australia!

Facebook  Please share our Facebook post to help us say thanks to more Australians

Keep reading to find out more about the full impact of your donation.

Read thank you letters from tsunami survivors:

Thanks for caring

At the Commonwealth Bank Boxing Day Test, CARE and Cricket Cares said thank you to cricket fans and Australians for caring and responding to the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.

Hundreds of volunteers helped CARE deliver packages of thanks from tsunami survivors to caring cricket fans.

Following a short video featuring Captain of the Australian Cricket team Michael Clarke, 10,000 thank you letters from India, Indonesia and Thailand were hand delivered to cricket fans.

Volunteers hand out letters
©Daryl Snowdon/CARE
Volunteers at MCG
©Daryl Snowdon/CARE

About the Boxing Day tsunami

Boxing Day tsunami map
On 26 December 2004, the third most powerful earthquake ever recorded occurred off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, triggering a tsunami that reached 14 countries. ©CARE
Aceh 2005 and 2014
©Josh Estey/CARE

CARE’s response

CARE was able to respond nearly instantly in India, Indonesia, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Thailand because of our long history working there, responding to disasters and implementing long-term aid programs.

Our response lasted from 2004 to 2011, helping the communities recover, rebuild and reduce their vulnerability to disasters in the future.


  • 16,279 killed and missing
  • 2.7 million displaced
  • 157,393 homes and buildings destroyed
  • CARE helped 242,784 people

CARE worked with 200 villages across eight tsunami affected districts to provide emergency relief items such as food, water, shelter and healthcare to 20,000 families immediately after the disaster. CARE also provided counselling to traumatised individuals, built temporary and permanent houses and helped families earn money by providing them with the training and supplies needed to start small business such as crab farming, mechanics, fishing and sewing.

Learn more about our response in India

CARE's response in India


  • 165,945 killed and missing
  • 572,926 displaced
  • 179,312 homes and buildings destroyed
  • CARE helped over 350,000 people

CARE’s relief and recovery projects focused on helping communities in Banda Aceh and Aceh Besar, and on the island of Simeulue. CARE’s immediate response involved the delivery of life-saving food, water and supplies to tens of thousands of people. CARE also built temporary and permanent housing, and wells and toilets to protect people from waterborne diseases. To help people earn money we launched cash-for-work programs and kick-started thousands of small businesses through grants and training programs. We also built four health clinics to meet the needs of mothers and young children.

Learn more about our response in Indonesia


  • 303 killed and missing
  • 2,320 people displaced
  • CARE helped 135,372 people

CARE responded by delivering clean water to over 5,000 families in 45 coastal communities. We also helped rebuild damaged and destroyed water wells and built 80 toilets, five schools and four health centres. Over 32,000 people received support to restore their livelihoods following the tsunami, and we supported thousands of men and women to start fishing again, while providing fish management training to prevent overfishing.

Learn more about our response in Somalia

Man in Somalia
©Frederic Courbet/CARE

Sri Lanka

  • 35,322 killed and missing
  • 516,150 displaced
  • 119,562 homes and buildings destroyed
  • CARE helped 560,000 people

CARE helped over 110,000 families affected by the tsunami. Immediately after the disaster, CARE staff helped search for survivors and distributed safe drinking water, food, clothing, bedding and hygiene kits. After the initial response, we helped communities rebuild public buildings, water wells and toilets, and provided counselling to traumatised people. We also helped people earn money by providing them with the training and supplies needed to start small business such as fishing and farming.

Learn more about our response in Sri Lanka

Tsunami response in Sri Lanka
©Samir El Sabagh/CARE


  • 8,212 killed and missing
  • 6,000 displaced
  • 4,800 homes and buildings destroyed
  • CARE helped 51,308 people

CARE’s immediate response focused on providing medical supplied and food to hospitals and shelters set up by the government. This was followed by improving temporary shelters and upgrading living conditions at emergency response shelters. We also helped people affected by the tsunami restart small businesses through access to credit and savings, small business support groups and training.

Learn more about our response in Thailand

Woman in Thailand
©Josh Estey/CARE

Other resources and highlights

Learning from crisis

The Learning from crisis: Strengthening humanitarian response since the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami report looks at the 10 years since the Indian Ocean tsunami and marks the key milestones and innovations from CARE and the broader humanitarian community.

Thank you to our generous partners