• Two university student at Lampuuk Beach, a popular spot for the locals, few kilometers at the out-skirt of Banda Aceh. This area was badly hit by an exceptionally high wave (20-30m) during the tsunami, but then recovered.

  • The Grand Mosque of Baiturrahman, the icon of Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh Province. Aceh is popularly know as The Veranda of Mecca for its important role of spreading Islam across the archipelago. This mosque was spared during the 2004 tsunami and saved many lives.

  • Mass prayers featuring famous clerics are often held in the Grand Mosque of Baiturrahman, Banda Aceh. Aceh is popularly know as The Veranda of Mecca for its important role of spreading Islam across the archipelago. This mosque was spared during the 2004 tsunami and saved many lives.

  • An aerial view of the area around Banda Aceh, Aceh capital. The 2004 tsunami has changed the face of Aceh’s coast forever.

  • A dead tree from the 2004 tsunami at the beach in Meulaboh. This city often claimed as the ground zero of tsunami because its proximity to the earthquake epicenter.

  • The ruin of a mosque in Leupung, a seashore village in Aceh’s western coast. During the tsunami this are was hit really hard and lost majority of its residents.

  • The remain of a bridge destroyed by the tsunami in Aceh Jaya. The Aceh Party (Partai Aceh) flag was painted during the national elec- tion.

  • On a clear Sunday, Zarliansyah brings along his wife and son to fish at the edge of the old road washed away by the 2004 tsunami in Leupung, Aceh Jaya.

  • Winda Ulfa, Miss Aceh, is the only contestant of Miss Indonesia 2014 who wear hijab.

  • Students at Markaz Al Ishlah Al Aziziyah, a muslim school dedicated for the victim of Aceh’s conflict and tsunami.

  • Early morning at a fishmarket in the village of Leupung, Aceh Jaya. During the tsunami this are was hit really hard and lost majority of its residents. The new settlements were rebuilt at a distance from the sea since then, but most of the action still happen mostly on the shoreline.

  • The new road connecting Banda Aceh to Calang built by the help of Americans through USAID. It is one of the best road in the whole country.

  • A decaying tsunami monument in Lhoknga. The 2004’s tsunami flattened this area with an exceptionally high wave due to an anomaly in the ocean fault just off its shore.

  • Hafsah, a tsunami survivor, lost more than 50 members of her extended family. Now she owns a small shop and sell tsunami DVD to visitors of Floating Power Plant Museum in Banda Aceh. The wave replica at the background shows the actual height of the wave when the tsunami hit Banda Aceh.

  • The 2600 tonnes floating power plant originally deployed for a cement factory at the western coast of Aceh were carried 4 kilometers inland into the center of Banda Aceh during the 2004 tsunami. It has become a museum since then, attracting thousands of visitors each week.

  • Visitors atop the 2600 tonnes floating power plant originally deployed for a cement factory at the western coast of Aceh. This massive vessel were carried 4 kilometers inland into the center of Banda Aceh during the 2004 tsunami. It has be- come a museum since then, attracting thousands of visitors each week.

  • New settlement in Lampuuk. In 2004, the tsunami flattened this area with its exceptional height due to an anomaly in the ocean fault just off its shore.

  • Two local surfers at Lhoknga beach. The 2004’s tsunami flattened most of this area. Today it is one of the most popular weekend spot. Some of the locals also set up guesthouses chartered mainly for foreign surfers.

  • The rolling wave of Indian Ocean near Leupung.


ACEH: TEN YEARS ON Muhammad Fadli

Stretching for more than a hundred kilometers, the new road connecting Banda Aceh and Calang is unlike anything else in Indonesia. It is wide, flat, and superbly constructed. With amazing panorama of the serene Aceh’s western coast from the car window, it is a joyful ride driving down this road to the south from the province’s busy capital. However one can hardly avoid to frequently witness dead palm trees or random ruins just few hundred meters off-shore.

The dead palm trees and the ruins are the monuments of Aceh recent tragic past. On a clear Sunday morning of 26 December 2004, a massive tsunami triggered by an earthquake off the west coast of Sumatra devastated the Indian Ocean shores. It was so powerful that over 230,000 souls perished in 14 countries. By its wide geographic spread and number of victims, it was one of the deadliest natural disaster in recorded history.

The Indonesian province of Aceh was by far the worst affected by the disaster which scored nearly eighty percent of the entire recorded deaths. Here, the tsunami stormed the coast and destroyed 800 kilometers of the province’s coastline, damaging or destroying more than 127,000 houses and making over half a million of the province’s 4.5 million population refugees. Cities were devastated and many seaside villages were vanished completely. Coastal roads were washed away and over 120 bridges were destroyed. Land damage totaled 60,000 hectares, while 1200 schools were ruined. The disaster’s impact upon the affected communities in social, economic and human terms was so tremendous that the extend of the tasks of reconstruc- tion and rehabilitation were almost unimaginable. To add the problem, the conflict between the Indonesian central government and Freedom Aceh Movement was also still persisting in the region.

The broad geographic spread of the tsunami’s effects, along with such huge numbers of people desperate for humanitarian support, moved the whole international community to assist. Over US$7 billion in aid was pledged by a wide range of governments, aid agencies, organizations, and individuals. New road were laid downs, thousands of new housings were built, and so with the new bridges and schools.

Surprisingly, the post tsunami recovery in Aceh—and the disaster itself—has also brought along a lasting peace into the region. In less than a year after the tsunami, an agreement was signed in Helsinki on 15 August 2005 between the Indonesian central government and Aceh Freedom Movement, officially ending the 29 years of conflict rooted deeply in the region. Under the agreement, Aceh has received special autonomy and Indonesian military troops deployed for the conflict were withdrawn from the region in exchange for separatist disarmament.

Now, ten years after the disaster, it is easy to see that Aceh has fully recovered. Its cities is teeming back with life. The wide road strecthing from Banda Aceh to Calang and on to Meulaboh, built by the help of international community, is currently one of the best in the whole country. The tsunami relics are now becoming popular tourist destinations. Foreign visitors are free to roam in this once off-limit region of Indonesia. Lampuuk, one area where the tsunami was recorded exceptionally high, is now covered with trees and dotted with new settlements. And Acehnese, with their recent free encounter with the outside world, are getting more cosmopolitan than ever. While it is true there are few challenges such as the enforcement of the controversial sharia law, most people will agree that the post tsunami recovery in Aceh is a great success. 






Loading