Sumatra

 

Down to Earth No 64  2005


Fisherfolk in Aceh are particularly vulnerable in the process of Aceh's recovery and reconstruction. They lived in coastal communities that were worst hit by the disaster. Many were poor and used to live very traditional lifestyles. Typically, their homes were small thatched huts close to the seashore. Their whole way of life was completely dependent on local marine resources. This was basically subsistence-level fishing.

Down to Earth No. 64, March 2005

The following account was compiled By DTE staff in early February.

Around week 2 post-quake, there were serious concerns about the plight of hundreds of thousands people made homeless by the tsunami-quake disaster. These IDPs (internally displaced persons) were living under tarpaulins or in tents in overcrowded conditions, made worse by heavy rains. Fears of epidemics of typhoid, cholera and other diseases drove the authorities to take emergency measures to establish 'temporary accommodation'.

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.

Down to Earth No 64  2005

Indonesia owes around US$1.76 billion to the British government. While it is true that this represents just a small fraction of the overall external debt of US$132 billion, it is still a significant sum, far outstripping, for example, the $96 million that the UK government has pledged to the tsunami aid effort.

Most of Indonesia's debt to the UK (US$1.408bn) is in the form of export credit facilities, owed to Britain's Export Credit Guarantee Department (ECGD). The ECGD underwrites Indonesian contracts with private UK companies.

Down to Earth No 64  March 2005

A personal view from Aceh, by a member of DTE staff, written late January

No-one had warned me that it might be much more difficult to get to Aceh from Medan than from Jakarta. So many people are trying to leave Aceh to stay with relatives elsewhere and so many Acehnese from Medan and Jakarta want to look for missing relatives, or to help surviving members of their families, that it is hard to get any kind of ticket.