A nightmarish landscape of sludge, flattened homes and tangled corpses.
That is all that is left of Banda Aceh – the provincial capital of a region in the grip of raw human suffering. Indonesia lost over 80,000 people when it was battered by giant waves. Up to 30,000 of them perished in this city where the water is only just beginning to drain off to reveal the full horrific extent of the destruction. Badly decomposed bodies are everywhere. Exhausted clean-up crews hardly know where to start. Officials say the search for survivors will soon stop. Seven days on, there is little hope of finding anyone alive. The situation remains desperate in Aceh, on the northern tip of Sumatra island,despite the fact that the international community is stepping up its efforts. American military helicopters are ferrying in emergency supplies. “I have never seen anything like this,” said Captain Larry Burt, the commander of one of the aircraft from USS Abraham Lincoln, parked off the coast of the island. Those on the ground can only hope they will be spotted from above and given the supplies they need.