Divine Word Missionaries

Tsunami in South-East Asia

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SAKSI Aceh - Nias Team

Information on the Disaster in Aceh – Nias
and the action of SAKSI Team

Gaby, SAKSI Team, among Aceh women refugees

1. The result of Earthquake and Tsunami in Aceh and Nias:

The earthquake and tsunami which hit NAD (Nangroe Aceh Darrusalam) and Nias Island on Sunday, 26 December 2004 resulted in:

  1. Many places in NAD (Banda Aceh, Aceh Jaya, Meulaboh, etc) and Nias (Sub districts Mandrehe, Sirombu, etc) were terrible destroyed causing many deaths and injuries. The earthquake zone faces many difficulties, i.e. food, clothing, houses and clean water.
  2. Turn up of the wave of refugees.
    Thousands of refugees had left the devastated location and fled to many places in the area NAD itself (Banda Aceh, Lhokseumawe, Sinabang and Kec. Pulau Banyak) as well as outside NAD (most of them in Medan –North Sumatera). In Nias Island they fled only to the surrounding areas, to higher places and stayed in the houses of others and in temporary tents in four posts. Of the four posts, one post is used for the distribution of donation and the other three are not functional anymore because many refugees have gathered together with their relatives who are not affected by the disaster.
  3. From the thousands of these refugees, SAKSI Aceh dan Nias Team has decided to give the emergency donation for the refugees in sub districts of Banyak Island - Kab. Aceh Singkil, Banda Aceh and in Nias Island. However, this Team remains open to help other refugees in many other places if it is needed.

2. Tackling the disaster:

a. General:

  • Handling the dead (to evacuate and bury the corpses). It has been done and still going on.
  • Repairing the infrastructure and communication, also done by the government.
  • Caring for and giving the donation to those who are still alive (the injured and the refugees) are still going on.
    Main focus now is for the living, who are still in the area of disaster and in the refugee camps.

b. Specifics:

Involvement of SVD and PADMA Indonesia through SAKSI Team
To tackle this disaster, JPIC SVD Java and PADMA Indonesia through SAKSI Aceh - Nias Team has taken these steps:

  1. Collect data and information and do a field investigation:
    The team is divided into two: the first is for Nias and the second is for Aceh.
    1. SAKSI Nias Team has gone to Nias on 29 December to do initial investigation. They have collected data on the dead and the living. Besides, they also made data on physical destructions and emergency needs of the victims to be helped as soon as possible. (See the report of SAKSI Nias Team no 1) Follow-up of the investigation in Nias has been continued again to take the details and accurate information.
    2. SAKSI Aceh Team has entered the district NAD, i.e. Banda Aceh and Singkil (Kab. Aceh Singkil), especially to the place which is planned to be the refugees’ destination, to do the investigation in order to gather complete data and information on the victims. (See the report of SAKSI Aceh Team no 1 & 2).
    3. The outcome of the initial investigation to Aceh and Nias showed that emergency needs for the living (refugees) are food, clothing, medicine, clean water, toilets, money for transportation to search for their missing families, and seek the help of the electronic media to show the faces of the victims who are still alive in the refugee camps.
  2. Give first help:
    1. Responding to those emergency needs, SAKSI Team has given first help to the victims in Nias (Mandrehe and Sirombu), such as food, clothing and medicine, through Fr. Mikael To Pr, Parish Priest of St. Maria Gunung Sitoli, Nias, on 05 January 2005.
    2. SAKSI Team has also given first aid to the victims in Banda Aceh. These helps included food, cleaned water, clothing and money for transportation to search for their missing families. For other victims, we still try in many suitable ways to give helps so that it does not offend others, like the government/army, NGOs, Moslem organization, etc. We need to be sensitive to the social, cultural and religious aspects of the situation and place.
    3. Based on the investigation on Banyak Island – Kab. Aceh Singkil, SAKSI Team has found out that in this place there are some 400 heads of families who have become victims but have never received any media attention. Therefore SAKSI Team together with the local government in Kab. Aceh Singkil have given food to these victims.
  3. Collaboration with our Moslem brothers and sisters:
    Because of the obstacles in giving the donation to the victims particularly those who are Moslems, SAKSI Team collaborates with our Moslem brothers and sisters in Banda Aceh, especially with the university students who belong to SEFA group (Safe, Emergency For Aceh). In this collaboration SAKSI Team is asked to take care of the children’s education and sanitation.
  4. Short and Long-term action :
    In line with the emergency task, SAKSI Team has been doing a short-term action, i.e. food, clothing, clean water in the refugees camps and toilets. For long-term action, SAKSI Team plans to explore clean water, to help in children’s education and to build simple houses together with the victims.