This is a picture taken at dinner the other night with my husband (tall white guy in the middle) and two officials from the Badan Rehabilitasi dan Rekonstrucksi (BRR) NAD-Nias in Aceh Province, Sumatra, Indonesia. Hubby was honored for his "many contributions toward the reconstruction of Aceh and Nias."
Remember, three years ago on December 26, 2004 a 9.1 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami, with a wave reportedly 30 meters high brought incredible devastation to the Indonesian province of Nangroe Aceh Darussalem (Aceh) on the island of Sumatra. 800 km of coastline was affected. In some villages, 80 – 90% of the people lost their lives.
150,000 houses damaged or destroyed
More than 2100 schools severely damaged or destroyed (approximately 50% of the schools in the area)
3000 km of roads deemed impassable
120 arterial bridges destroyed
All major seaports destroyed or severely damaged
Eight hospitals and 114 health clinics damaged or destroyed
64,000 hectares of agricultural land and 15,000 hectares of aquaculture severely damaged or destroyed
175,000 people killed or missing
600,000 left homeless
A few pictures of the aftermath, thanks to BRR, the UN and various humanitarian organizations:
CRS, under hubby's guidance, has built approximately 800 houses in the past year, and that doesn't include all the other infrastructure that CRS has done, including reinforcing and generally 'cleaning up' the local Catholic Church that had bullet holes or broken glass in every window after thirty years of civil war and then an earthquake that cracked walls and did even more damage.
But, it's the houses that mean so much.
Here is a temporary house in the background and a new house in the foreground. So, most people have either lived in barracks or temporary shelter since the tsunami if they lost a house.
One of the ceremonies the boys and I attended with hubby and the rest of the CRS gang. The village got together in a community building and the local Imam opened the meeting with a prayer. We all sat on the floor. Women and children on one side; men on the other. The nice thing about many of the ceremonies CRS did was that many times a woman widow was the first recipient of the keys to a new house. That is touching in such a male dominated country; to see the village come together and understand that they need to take care of each other.
Here is one of the ribbon cutting ceremonies Rob attended. This is the first recipient of the houses in this particular village. She lost her husband in the tsunami. Afterwards, there is usually food and festivities. Hubby has almost gotten a taste for that banana tree soup!
It's been very rewarding to see people go from feeling like this picture: (thanks to UN for this picture, I don't personally know these people, this was taken right after the tsunami)
To this picture: These are girls we lived down the street from. It makes it all worth it!