Indonesia: Aceh and Nias - Five years on from the tsunami

News and Press Release
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26 December 2009 marks the anniversary of one of the world's worst natural disasters in recorded history.

The 2004 Boxing Day tsunami struck coastlines of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the Maldives with devastating force, killing hundreds of thousands of people and displacing many more.

One of the worst affected areas was Aceh, Indonesia's western-most province on the island of Sumatra. An estimated 167,000 people lost their lives and a further 500,000 were left homeless.

Around 800 kilometres of coastline was destroyed and more than 3,000 hectares of land was washed away or inundated by seawater, rendering it unusable for farming.

Major infrastructure such as roads, bridges, ports, and water sources, as well as thousands of schools and health facilities were destroyed - the tsunami's impact was devastating.

Australia responded immediately to the tsunami, announcing a $1 billion five-year package of assistance to Indonesia. The Australia Indonesia Partnership for Reconstruction and Development (AIPRD) was developed to support Indonesia's reconstruction and development efforts both in and beyond tsunami-affected areas.

More than $250 million of this was provided as relief and reconstruction funding to help Aceh and the island of Nias - which suffered the dual impact of the tsunami and a massive earthquake on 28 March 2005 - rebuild their communities.

Australia has worked alongside the Government of Indonesia and non-government organisations in Aceh and Nias since December 2004, with Australian-funded priority relief and reconstruction programs now completed.

The Australian Government's program in Aceh has successfully reconstructed public infrastructure, including 175 village halls and vital health facilities, such as the badly damaged Zainoel Abidin Hospital. The program also coordinated re-establishment of land boundaries for more than 88,000 plots.

Australia helped to reconstruct many schools destroyed by the tsunami, as well as providing support for the improved school management in conflict-affected areas.

Australia helped to rebuild people's livelihoods, strengthened government service delivery and assisted in strengthening democracy and peace in a province that had suffered from 30 years of civil conflict before the disaster.

Australia remains committed to working with Indonesia to support longer-term peace and prosperity in Aceh, beyond our successful post-tsunami rehabilitation work. From 2008-13, Australia will provide up to $50 million to help improve government services, education, livelihoods and community participation in decision-making and democratic processes in Aceh.

More information:

AIPRD Achievements in Aceh and Nias

Australia Indonesia Partnership for Reconstruction and Development: Post-disaster recovery in Aceh and Nias