Sumatra

 

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.

Down to Earth No 64  2005

The well-known indigenous and environmental activist, Keuchik Jailani, was one of the victims of the quake-tsunami in Aceh. He did not come from a privileged background and had little formal education. He always described himself as an ordinary farmer. But Pak Keuchik - as he was always known - was not an ordinary man. He was a community leader who was chosen to be village head of Riseh Sawang and customary leader because he was an honest, hard-working, principled man who was a skilled negotiator and not afraid to speak out.

Down to Earth No 64  March 2005

This edition of Down to Earth focuses on the human and environmental toll of the tragic events of December 26th and raises some key concerns about the future.

As the death toll from the 26th December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunamis climbed higher and higher, the world watched with horror. Aceh, nearest the epicentre of the earthquake that triggered the gigantic destructive waves, suffered the most. Here the death toll was estimated at 250,000 by the end of February.

Down to Earth No 64  March 2005

For many tsunami survivors whose homes and livelihoods were totally swept away in the early hours of December 26th, rebuilding their lives means starting from scratch. What lies ahead for these shattered communities and who will decide what happens next?

Acehnese civil society organisations are highlighting the overriding need for participation by the affected communities in the reconstruction and recovery processes and for transparency and accountability in the use of funds.