Aceh at the Crossroads

On the morning of 26 December 2004, an earthquake measuring 8.7 on the Richter scale struck off the coast of Aceh province, and was followed shortly afterwards by one of the most devastating tsunamis in recorded history, a monstrous tidal wave that flattened communities along the west and north coasts of the province. At least 1,400 villages in the province of Aceh, which is located on the northern tip of Sumatra Island, Indonesia, were wiped off the face of the earth, with nothing left behind except mud, ruins and bloated, putrefying corpses – a tragedy of unparallel proportions in the history of Indonesia, and possibly also the world. People around the globe were shocked to see the lives of so many human beings extinguished in what was little more than the blink of an eye. Those who survived were left to flounder in a new world full of pain and desperation, at a loss to know how to survive, forced to live a life full of uncertainty as displaced persons in tents.


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