Switzerland to take part in the memorial ceremony for the victims of the 2004 tsunami

Bern, Press release, 19.12.2014

Ten years after the devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed more than 225,000 people, rendered millions homeless and caused massive destruction in 13 countries, various events will take place to remember the disaster of 26 December 2004. Switzerland will take part in memorial ceremonies in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and India. The 2004 tsunami claimed the lives of 113 Swiss nationals. Switzerland supported the emergency aid and reconstruction efforts within the framework of the Swiss Confederation's Humanitarian Aid.

© Keystone

The victims are remembered every year on 26 December in the affected countries. Larger memorial events are being held this year to mark the tenth anniversary of the disaster. The Swiss embassies in Bangkok, New Delhi, Colombo and Jakarta will be represented at a number of memorial events. The Swiss ambassador to Thailand, Christine Schraner Burgener, for example, will take part in a German-speaking memorial event on 26 December 2014 in Khao Lak in Phang-nga province, organised by Emergency-Pastoral-Care in Germany, at which the German and Austrian representations will also be present. In Thailand, 110 Swiss citizens lost their lives in the tsunami. In Banda Aceh in northern Sumatra (Indonesia), the victims of the tsunami will be remembered at different events, including at an official memorial ceremony on 26 December 2014 with an exhibition on the theme of protection against disasters and reconstruction.

On 26 December 2004, an earthquake measuring 9.3 on the Richter scale caused a devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean. The tidal wave struck 13 countries, claiming the lives of more than 225,000 people, causing massive destruction and rendering millions homeless. Emergency rescue teams, including from Swiss Humanitarian Aid, were deployed immediately after the tsunami struck, in particular to Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Thailand. Switzerland's emergency aid primarily consisted of building emergency shelters, provisional drinking water supply facilities and providing medical aid. These short-term measures were supplemented by several long-term reconstruction projects from which the affected population continue to benefit today. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) disbursed a total of CHF 35 million for emergency aid measures and reconstruction programmes in various states. The tsunami also prompted enormous public solidarity, with private and public donors in Switzerland collecting some CHF 300 million. The last of the SDC's emergency aid projects were completed at the end of 2007.

Further information:

Tsunami in South Asia
Video on Sri Lanka – Ten years after the tsunami (de)
Fact sheet: Swiss aid after the tsunami of 26 December 2004
Fact sheet: Switzerland’s commitment in Sri Lanka following the tsunami
Fact sheet: Switzerland’s commitment in Indonesia following the tsunami
Fact sheet: Switzerland’s commitment in Thailand following the tsunami

Address for enquiries:

Information FDFA
Bundeshaus West
CH-3003 Bern
Tel.: +41 58 462 31 53
Fax: +41 58 464 90 47
E-Mail: info@eda.admin.ch


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs