One week after the tsunami waves swept over Indonesia’s Aceh province aid is slowly filtering through to wrecked towns and villages. As the relief programme gets on its feet, however, it is clear a sustained humanitarian effort will be needed for the region to recover.
Military helicopters have been ferrying food and clean water to survivors. It could take two weeks before isolated areas are reached. The death toll from the disaster stands at 130,000, with at least 80,000 of those in Aceh, at the northern tip of Sumatra island. Some survivors have been airlifted to medical centres in the main town, Banda Aceh. With 1.46 billion euros in aid already pledged worldwide, Indonesians know help is on the way. But that does little to alleviate the harrowing task of recovering and identifying the victims still lying in the water and buried in mud. The threat of disease is hanging over the region. The UN estimates that up to 50,000 people could become ill and die in the wake of the tsunamis. It is thought some towns in Aceh could take a decade to rebuild, while others may be abandoned for good.