There is an unfortunate disconnect between largesse and on-the-ground action, as the Indian Ocean tsunami so poignantly shows. Despite the outpouring of generosity, two years later one-third of survivors remain in temporary housing, 60 per cent of pledged donations are outstanding and an early warning system is still rudimentary. We, the individuals who gave with such heartfelt sympathy, are not to blame; rather, it is the governments who claimed to be serving their citizens or promised to help those in need. There are also complications. Corruption is endemic in the Indonesian province of Aceh, where 40 per cent of reconstruction efforts are estimated to have been in some way tainted. Sri Lankan authorities have not been as forthcoming as they should have with assistance to those living in the contested, Tamil-majority, Jaffna peninsula. Governments and non-governmental organisations have lacked co-ordination. This is small consolation for the hundreds of thousands of people still waiting for a permanent roof over their heads, electricity, running water and the other promised infrastructure. In Aceh, their plight has been worsened by flooding over the past week and in Jaffna, by a return to civil war. From the comfort and security of Hong Kong, such matters may be difficult to swallow. We donated HK$1.11 billion, the highest level of giving per person in the world, and should reasonably expect results. Whatever the degree of dissatisfaction, however, it must be remembered that the destruction wrought by the tsunami was on an unprecedented scale. Communities were obliterated by the wall of water, and no matter what amounts of money are involved, rebuilding from scratch is a process that will go on for years, not months. These realities were pointed out by officials and aid agencies in the months after the tragedy. The first six months were considered the emergency phase, to ensure that those affected had shelter, food, water, health care and, for children, schooling. In the medium term, the process now under way, the objective involves reconstruction of public buildings, houses and infrastructure. Long-term, a decade-or-more away, the aim is to ensure those communities affected have a better standard of living and are protected against a similar occurrence. There is no dispute that in some places, progress is not as it should have been. Getting an early warning mechanism in place is crucial, as is ensuring funds go to where they are earmarked. But there is also a need for patience. The lives of those affected are slowly improving, particularly in Aceh, where a peace deal has ended a separatist struggle and elections were recently held. As long as we keep focused on rehabilitation efforts, what has been promised has a high likelihood of transpiring.