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Friday, December 16, 2005

Tsunami Survivors Face Long-Term Social Costs

A year after the tsunami that devastated Southeast Asia, the affected areas have benefitted greatly from the $8.4 billion in cash and material donations that has been sent or pledged so far. In fact, Asia grew at a rate of 6.3% in 2005. But infrastructure reconstruction has barely begun -- an effort that is estimated to cost about $9 billion and take up to a decade to complete.

Those outside the "formal" economy, such as fishermen, farmers, and other independent businesspeople, were among the hardest hit, and may be the hardest to help. Damage to the environment and to the tourism industries of affected areas will also take time, and could have long-term economic and social costs, especially if economic distress translates into political upheaval and an increase in crime.

Source: CNN.com