People searching for food and digging in debris has become an everyday sight in Banda Aceh. The provincial capital is still paralysed eight days on from the massive wall of water that hit the region. Indonesia has the largest individual death toll, and recovery workers there are continuing to search for bodies. Elephants are being used to clear rubble from places where heavy machinery cannot reach.
On Monday authorities raised the death toll by 14,000, bringing the total in the country to more than 94,000 fatalities. The destruction is by no means limited to Aceh. Thousands of people across Sumatra have been made homeless by giant waves that have wiped whole towns off the map. Survivors of the disaster are starting to return to what is left of their homes and see for the first time the damage done. Some will spend the next few days trawling Aceh’s now putrid rivers as they try to pick up their lives. Thousands of displaced people are camping out in schools and government offices. Food has begun to arrive, dramatically increasing their chances of survival.