Tsunami ruins in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, December 2004

In December 2004, tsunamis devastated the coasts of Southeast Asia and India. Whole towns were destroyed. Islands disappeared. The damage was massive. Six hundred Volunteer Ministers responded from 28 nations around the world, bringing immediate help to the tsunami victims and rescue workers.

Given the sheer number affected, training everyone possible on Volunteer Minister technology was vital. And so it was that doctors, nurses, Muslim clerics and Buddhist monks were among the some 50,000 who were trained by the Volunteer Ministers and they in turn brought help to more than 250,000 survivors.

"The Volunteer Ministers are a remarkable group of individuals whose purpose is truly to help improve conditions. Their focus is one of organization and coordination. Their self-sufficiency and ability to direct all relief efforts is an indispensable asset to our country at this time.

"They work with government and community leaders, and aid in the coordination of all relief efforts. Their first concern is the effectiveness of the professionals. This is a highly qualified and dedicated team that is an immense asset to our country."

Basil Rajapaksa
Honorable Prime
Minister's Office,
Sri Lanka
29 December, 2004