On 26 December 2004, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake off the coast of Sumatra caused tsunamis that destroyed vast coastal areas bordering the Indian Ocean and killed, either outright or in their aftermath, nearly 300,000 people. The Asian Development Bank (ADB), along with other multilateral and bilateral agencies, nongovernment organizations, and private individuals from many countries, responded almost immediately with pledges of massive aid to help alleviate this tragedy. ADB has earmarked $775 million for emergency relief.
A new Disaster and Emergency Assistance Policy had been approved by ADB's Board of Directors in May 2004. This paper examines lessons learned from previous experience with emergency loans, summarizes the new policy, and discusses ADB's response to the tsunami in light of the new policy.