Disasters

Down to Earth No 68  February 2006

The following report is based on a DTE staff visit to Aceh in December 2005

Looking over the vast expanse of mudflats that stretched to the horizon, I asked where the village had been. The man pointed towards the sea. Apart from the few ragged remaining coconut palms, it was indistinguishable from the land which had been paddy fields and shrimp ponds.

One year on from the December 26th quake-tsunami disaster and the scale of the reconstruction work needed is all too apparent.

Down to Earth No 68  February 2006

Questions are being raised over a World Bank-funded land titling project in post-tsunami Aceh.

Securing land tenure has become one of the priorities in the reconstruction of Aceh, post-tsunami. More than half a million affected people have had to endure changes to the landscape and have been left without evidence of their property rights. According to the national land agency, BPN, approximately 300,000 land parcels have been affected by the tsunami.

Down to Earth No 68   February 2006

Indonesia's Anti-Debt Coalition (KAU) has accused the Indonesian government of lacking any sense of urgency in its post-tsunami reconstruction work. In a statement issued exactly one year after the disaster struck, KAU criticised the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for failing to seize opportunities to reduce Indonesia's debt.

Down to Earth No 66  August 2005

Flash floods hit southeastern Aceh in late April, killing at least nineteen people and injuring dozens more. The disaster can be linked to the huge demand for reconstruction timber in post-tsunami Aceh.

The floods brought rocks, logs and water crashing down hillsides, completely destroying people's homes late on April 26th, when most villagers were asleep. The villages of Lawe Gerger, Lawe Mengkudu, and Lawe Lak-Lak in Southeast Aceh district, were worst hit.

Down to Earth No 64  March 2005

Coral reefs, seagrass beds, mangroves and peatlands, if maintained in a healthy state, reduce the severity of tsunami impacts. Several reports have highlighted the fact that mangroves and coral reefs, where they still remained, helped save lives on December 26th by acting as a buffer and absorbing the impact of the giant waves. Where they were absent, more lives were lost.

Down to Earth No 64  March 2005

Far more women, children and the elderly died in the quake-tsunami than teenagers and men. In Lambada village, there were only 105 survivors from a population of over 2,100; of these only 5 were women. This is not atypical. The overall gender balance in Aceh may have been changed by 20% or more.

The reasons why so many women died may never be known. Many stayed to save their children when the first tsunami struck. Others could not run fast enough to higher ground while carrying babies and toddlers.

Down to Earth No 64  March 2005

Will the tsunami disaster bring a greater debt burden for Indonesia's future generation?

An international summit to raise funds for relief in countries affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami, was held in Jakarta on January 6th.