Anderson is in Houston to talk about the last five years of work in the areas devastated by the tsunami. He has traveled the world in his Red Cross career and says the single most important element of any recovery effort begins before disaster strikes.
"To be ready before something hits or strikes and the ability to respond locally."
He says the other commonality is that recovery takes time. Long after the initial relief effort and the focused media attention, the need for and the work of recovering takes time.
"And you also need to take that time to do it properly. You need to work with local communities with local authorities making sure that the interventions that you're doing are part of their plan.Î¾ You can't come in and decide that for these communities."
Gerald Anderson says the Red Cross works with organizations world wide to promote the need to prepare for disasters and it tries to promote the need for ongoing public support long after the disaster is no longer front page news.