The tragedy of the tsunami that struck Thailand's Andaman coast on 26 December 2004, and the devastation and misery it
left in its wake, is unprecedented in recent history. This disaster also brought forth an extraordinary response. Thailand,
under the strong leadership of the Royal Thai Government (RTG), provided effective, efficient and comprehensive relief
and humanitarian assistance to the Thai people, as well as to the large number of foreigners affected by the disaster.
The scale of the disaster was matched by the generosity of the Thai people, who came forward to assist the victims of the
tragedy in an extraordinary display of humanity. The Thai private sector and local NGOs also played a major role in the relief
and recovery effort. Organizations and individuals from around the world contributed money and resources in support of
Thailand's response to the tsunami, and the world gratefully acknowledged the role of the RTG in dealing with the tragedy
and its aftermath.
Given its capacity and resources, Thailand did not appeal for international financial assistance. The international community
has therefore played a relatively small but strategic role in Thailand's tsunami recovery. The United Nations Country Team
(UNCT), bilateral development agencies, and international NGOs have contributed structured support to the Royal Thai Government's
recovery efforts in areas where the RTG welcomed support from international partners: providing technical support, equipment,
and direct support to the affected communities.
Thailand has provided valuable lessons in dealing with the disaster, which we hope will be disseminated and shared, especially
with other countries in the region, enabling them to benefit from this experience.
This report is a powerful tribute to Thailand's effective response to the tsunami. It is also an acknowledgement of the challenges
that remain in ensuring a sustainable and equitable recovery. Finally, it is a reaffirmation of the commitment of the United
Nations Country Team, bilateral development agencies, and international NGOs to support the RTG in addressing the challenges in
the rebuilding effort. And, as former United States President Bill Clinton, the Special Envoy of the UN for tsunami relief has
insisted, to ensuring that the rebuilding abide by the principle of build back better.
Joana Merlin Scholtes
Ian C. Porter
UN Resident Coordinator in Thailand
Country Director, The World Bank