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Remembering the deadly Aceh Tsunami 10 Years On

October 21, 2014 Destination ASEAN No Comments Email Email

A decade ago on 26th December 2014, the province of Aceh on the north-western-most part of Indonesia was devastated by a natural disaster that shook the world,  known as the Aceh Tsunami.

After years of rehabilitation and restoratio works, today  the province. Aceh her  people have managed to overcome the tragedy and continue with building their cities and their life. To remind us of this trageddy that occurred  10 years ago, the. 10-Years Commemoration of the Aceh Tsunami  will be held on 25th to 28th December 2014, centered in the capital city of Banda Aceh.

Solemn prayers and religious sermons  will reverberate at the Baiturrahman Grand Mosque on 25th December as thousands of people recall and relive  those tragic days through religious activities. The pinnacle of the series of events in this commemoration will take place  on 26th December 2014 to be attended by. Government Officials of the nation and of Aceh Province, representatives from neigbouring countries, humanity organizations, and of the people of Aceh.

Carrying the theme “Reconstruction and Disaster Risks Reducation ” the commemoration is expected to raise contributions from donors, national governments, and governmental bodies. The commemoration will also be highlighted with an exhibition on Natural Disasters to be held at the  Blang Padang area,  and a creative art and photography exhibition in the Aceh Tsunami Museum on 26th December 2014.

For two straight  days , from 26th to 27th December 2014, there will be Aceh Art Nights which is an appreciation from Aceh to the World. The event will be highlighted with some of Aceh’s  finest artists.

The 10 year Commemoration of the Aceh Tsunami will reach its finale with the Tsunami 10K running competition as symbol of hope in humanity.  Participants will gain a better understanding on  the rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts of Aceh by running past areas that were by destroyed and affected by the Tsunami.

Aceh Tsunami, also known as the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and Tsunami,  occurred on Sunday morning of 26 December 2014 and is regarded as one of the most devastating natural disasters in recorded history. The tragedy started when a huge 9.2 RS earthquake with epicenter near the island of Simeuleu,  close to  the shore of Aceh shook the area. This was followed by an enormous tsunami that made landfall in Aceh within only 15 minutes. By the end of the day the Indian Ocean tsunami had killed an unsuspecting  280,000 people in fourteen countries around the Indian Ocean  from Indonesia, Thailand,  Srilanka to the Seychelles and Madagascar in Africa, drowning coastal areas with waves of up to 30 meters high.

Vast swathes of the west coast of Aceh that included the cities of Banda Aceh, Calang, and Meulaboh, were completely destroyed being located closest to the epicenter, giving no time for anyone to escape.    It is estimated that in Aceh more than 170,000 people were killed by this tsunami and about 500,000 were made homeless.

Today, one can learn more about the tragic disaster at the Aceh National Museum which is dedicated as a monument and symbolic reminder of this incredible calamity. Other stunning testament to the tragedy is the Land-stuck PLTD Apung I Ship which is a huge Floating Diesel Power Station Ship which was lifted like a toy and swept up by the huge waves to be thrown and run aground some 2 kilometers inland.

The Grand Mosque of Baiturrahman  is also a silent witness to the calamity and its miracle, since the mosque was not much affected by the tsunami although all the surrounding structures were leveled to the ground. There is also the Thanks to the World Monument which symbolizes that Aceh was not alone in facing the tragic disaster. The monument is located at Blang Padang and is built as an appreciation on the part of the people of  Aceh to all volunteers and assistance from around the world who have helped Aceh in the recovery process.

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