Tsunami disaster – countries in crisis

Indonesia: Short- and long-term tsunami recovery

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© UNICEF/HQ05-1674/Josh Estey
A boy sits on the steps of his family’s barracks in a temporary relocation centre (TLC) for people displaced by the tsunami, in the village of Utamong, in the sub-district of Lhoong on the west coast of Aceh Province.

Indonesia suffered the full force of the December 2004 tsunami, which left the entire coastline of Aceh in ruins. Lives, homes, schools, social networks and all basic infrastructure were destroyed, leaving a region with few resources for recovery.

Beginning immediately after the disaster, UNICEF rushed in emergency relief supplies and took the lead in restoring water and sanitation facilities, providing psychological and emotional support for children, getting schools back in session, registering and tracing separated and unaccompanied children and working to ensure that the health needs of a population in crisis were met.

In this interview, UNICEF Head of Office for Banda Aceh, Edouard Beigbeder, discusses the organization’s initial response to the tsunami and where the recovery effort is now headed.

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia, December 2005 – “The tsunami catastrophe was one of the biggest in a century. In less than 10 minutes, over 200,000 people were killed by the waves and over half a million people became homeless. UNICEF’s immediate response was to provide immediate help to these people by trying to contain the catastrophe.

“We provided drugs for people who were injured. We were able to immunize children to avoid a measles outbreak and provide sanitation and safe water to avoid a cholera epidemic.”

Long-term reconstruction

“At the same time that we are responding to the relief, we are passing to rehabilitation and long-term reconstruction. For water, it means UNICEF is concentrating its efforts in the rural areas. We are planning and already starting the work to rehabilitate 21 water treatment plants all over the region.

“UNICEF is starting one of the biggest programmes ever: the construction of 300 primary schools and rehabilitation of 200 others. This programme is going to be able to serve about 120,000 children.

“I think that here we have an opportunity to show that it is possible after a crisis, with the donors’ response, to build back better.”


 

 

Video

UNICEF Head of Office in Banda Aceh, Edouard Beigbeder, discusses the tsunami recovery in Indonesia.

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Official updates

Children and the Tsunami, A Year On:
A Draft UNICEF Summary of What Worked [PDF]

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