CNN -- Despite its devastating toll of human misery, the December tsunami had relatively little impact on the broad picture of Asian regional economic growth in Excluding Japan, Asia grew about 6. But the apparent economic resilience of the four countries most deeply affected by the tsunami -- Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand -- masks what experts say is a much deeper and long-lasting social cost to the communities that were devastated. Twelve months after the disaster, it is this cost that is the focus of reconstruction efforts by United Nations agencies, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, donor countries and relief organizations. Unlike slow-burning health crises such as AIDS, the outbreak of SARS or the possibility of a global pandemic from bird flu, the tsunami was a one-off event that prompted an immediate financial and humanitarian response. In the days following the tsunami, money flowed in for rescue and reconstruction work, and to help badly affected industries such as tourism in Thailand and fishing in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India.
The Asian Development Bank says some two million people will be pushed into poverty because of the Indian Ocean tsunami - which swept through some of Asia's poorest communities. This comes as Western nations offer debt relief to the worst affected countries. The Asian Development Bank says damage to the region's economies from the December 26 tsunami will be minimal. The non-profit lending institution says economic growth in Indonesia will only see a slight fall, despite experiencing the worst damage.
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