World leaders will meet on Thursday to seek a way to prevent such a catastrophe - where survivors are still burying their dead 10 days after a tsunami killed around 150,000 people - from ever occurring again.
Indonesia, the worst-hit nation with almost two-thirds of the dead, hopes the one-day summit will agree to set up a regional tsunami warning system, which experts say could have saved many lives.
Leaders from 26 nations and humanitarian organisations, along with UN chief Kofi Annan, will also look at the massive reconstruction needed to rebuild the shattered lives of millions of people in six Indian Ocean nations.
Many countries have already sent or pledged money, personnel, equipment and supplies to the relief effort - the biggest since the second world war - with Japan leading the drive with $500 million in aid.
Following is a selected list of contributions by governments to the aid effort.
Algeria $2 million
Australia $46.5 million
Britain $96 million
Canada $66 million
China $60.4 million
Denmark $76.8 million
EU $31.3 million
France $66.4 million
Germany $27.2 million
Italy $95 million
Japan $500 million
Kuwait $10 million
North Korea $150,000
Qatar $25 million
Saudi Arabia $30 million
South Korea $50 million
Sweden $80 million
UAE $20 million
USA $350 million
Many individuals and companies all around the world have also donated hundreds of millions in cash and kind.
The relief effort is the biggest
since the second world war
In addition to financial aid, some nations have mobilised their military hardware and personnel to assist in search and rescue as well as transport and delivery of aid. Following is selected a list of some countries' contributions:
China: Army airlift of nearly 500 tonnes of aid.
Germany: Mobile hospital and supply ship.
Japan: About 800 troops, army medical and airlift teams, three navy vessels and air force transport aircraft.
United States: About 12,600 personnel, 21 US ships including one aircraft carrier and one helicopter carrier.