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April 22, 2016
The Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami of 2004 killed over 275,000 people in 14 different countries. In Aceh, Indonesia alone, over 130,000 people perished. The tsunami left in its wake ruined infrastructure, dislocated families, and other political, economic, and social challenges.
In response to the tsunami and it ruinous effects, the international community together donated over 7 billion dollars in aid to Indonesia. Up until that point, this was the most generous outpouring of financial assistance that any one country had ever received during a natural disaster.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), as well as other U.S. agencies, such as the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Defense, together allocated over 400 million dollars in emergency aid to Indonesia. USAID led the effort, providing immediate support in the areas of food, water, shelter, sanitation, and medicine. As time has passed, USAID has continued to work in Indonesia to support survivors and rebuild affected communities, focusing on education initiatives, job creation, infrastructure improvement, and proper governance.
When the tsunami hit, Andrew Natsios was working as the USAID administrator in Washington, D.C. His story details the rapid response of USAID to the crisis abroad, including interesting events and key aspects of what it took to properly mobilize the agency and support those affected.
During his career, Natsios also held positions with the USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, the Bureau of Humanitarian Affairs, World Vision, and the Sudanese Embassy.
Andrew Natsios’ interview was conducted by Carol Peasly on April 24, 2018.
Read Natsios’ full oral history HERE (https://adst.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Natsios-Andrew.pdf.)
Drafted by Ashley Young
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