Indonesia: They who start to redevelop the life

SUN is hotter here, in coastal lip of Gugup village, Pulo Aceh Subdistrict, Aceh

Besar. There was no grove to shelter. As far as around 1 km of visible coast is only plain and heap of debris in anywhere. The wind of sea flies dust and bumping mount, a quiet kampong. Only two couple of people is seen to chat. There are six barracks unit relocation of IDP's in a number of countryside corners, barracks without dweller.

A passenger ship stops in emergency port when the sun is really above my head. Around 25 people immediately debark. Ship is almost full of their provisions. There are clothes, ripe equipments, mattress, banana seed, and much more.

They immediately work together to pick down the payload. In few minutes, a number of goods have been moved to a car which having Federation Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) logo. That car has to shuffle through to transport provisions, of ship to evacuation barracks.

There is an old man who not yet debarked. He can't walk. His left foot bloated, not know what disease. Definitely, he is more than 70 old year. He wears case, hat, and very simple clothes. His hair turn white and his wrinkling face is so hard. Two people debarks him immediately. Jafar, the old man's name, then be brought to emergency shop selling instant noodles and coffee. Not long, the IFRC land cruiser brings him immediately to barracks in Ulee Paya village. The old man came from Serapung, a sea separated of village Ulee Paya.

"Alhamdulilah, finally I can return again to this place. I wish death here, in this village," said Jafar with vibrant lip. "I am weary have to shift about," he continued.

Yes, that day, Tuesday, 27 June 2005, was first day for Jafar and 25 people who debarked to step their home village again. They were the first group -henceforth will be caught up by thousands of others. For six months, after earthquake and tsunami tragedy in 26 December last year damaged villages of Pulo Aceh Subdistrict, that was the first day for them coming back to see their home land. Since one week after tragedy, they evacuated and lived in barracks of Sinibok, Banda Aceh.

The beginning of Pulo Aceh villagers back to their home land, one of reason, is Palang Merah Indonesia and British Red Cross program.

Alokra Mountain

Pulo Aceh District is one of hard region which hit tsunami. This region is also the including slowest get emergency aid. Its place is outlying. Need 3-4 hours by ship from Peunayong Port, Banda Aceh, to get there. That ship have to pass long river and later to free sea.

Consist of 12 countryside - located in Pulo Beras South and North and also Pulo Nasi-this area nowadays loss more than one-third of citizen population. Countryside in Pulo Aceh take separate position encircled by free ocean. This archipelago reside in tip of west of Sumatra Island, near Pulo Weh, Sabang.

The villager's houses face to sea and limited by mount in backside. This mount was taken as agriculture farm -even cannabis had been planted extended in this region early of year 2000. And this mount also became rescuer when tsunami came, as evacuation place.

Their livelihood was most of farmer and fishermen. Before tsunami, this region had society health clinic (puskesmas), schoolhouse from basic school till high school, and a number of religious buildings. The police station building and governance also existed, also religious building, such as mosque and meunasah. But at 26 December, almost all of them annihilate altogether. Gugup Village, the solid region of resident and hardest of tsunami hit, loss more than 600 citizens. From more than 900 residents or 205 head of families, nowadays only 302 persons or 130 head of families left. "What we have finished all, nothing the rest of. But our garden was still exist because located in mount," said Adnan Abbas, 41 year, Gugup villager.

Ali Syamsudin told, when tsunami came all of resident immediately evacuated to Alokra Mount behind Ulee Paya village. Wave punching as high as more than 12 meter immediately swept each continent. "We have no time to save anything," said this 46 year old guy. Fortunately, entire of his core family member was safe.

What he remembered was only resident running to mountain. Because Ulee Payaa located in hill gap, rather tardy wave come. Most of residents could save itself. Victims noted four head in this countryside. Difference with Gugup and Sinabung Village which located directly facing to sea. The wave so quickly came so resulting much victims. "Most of dead bodies were not be found up to now. We only entombed 86 people," said Abbas again.

Till resident three-day evacuate to Alokra. "We live on eaten coconut water and parsnip," said Adnan. During that also they didn't know any news. Even they predicted only their countryside which hit tsunami. On fourth day the aid started coming to them. Rice and instant noodles, though not much, they began to feel it.

Hari kelima mereka diangkut ke Banda Aceh. "Barulah kami sadar ternyata bukan hanya desa kami yang terkena tsunami. Di Banda Aceh juga parah," kata seorang penduduk. Selama seminggu mereka tinggal di barak Gugajah, Mata'i, Banda Aceh. Selanjutnya mereka dipindahkan ke barak pengungsian Desa Sinibok hingga kini.

On fifth day they were evacuated to Banda Acheh. "Then we realize that not only our villages were hit tsunami. In Banda Aceh also worst," said a resident. During one week they lived in barracks of Gugajah, Mata'i, Banda Aceh. Hereinafter they were carried over to Sinibok evacuation barracks up to now.


Six-month later they started to arrange their life. Livelihood programs of Indonesian Red (PMI) Aceh Besar cooperates British Red Cross (BRCS) assisting them. This program is targeted to 10.000 survivor family of tsunami: re-developing their houses and beginning their livelihoods. Up to now, the program has reached 793 people of Ulee Paya, Gugup, Serapong and Teunom villages in Pulo Aceh Subdistrict, Aceh Besar District.

This Program was started on last of 2nd June. Each families get Rp 36 million for house reconstruction and Rp 10 million for cash for work. The fund will be given step by step according to necessity priority in order to avoid an expenditure of fund which disagree with priority. The villagers please to build their own house by themselves, mutual assistance, or delivered to contractor -of course matching with friendly standard of environment, earthquake resistance, and health. "We are, the villager of Gugup, most of 100 % delivering the development to contractor," said Abbas.

The BRCS budget on Disaster and Emergency Committee (DEC) equal to GBP 40 million (around USD 70 million). Other PNS works along with IFRC (International Federation Red Cross and Red Crescent Society) and expected the overall of program funds is USD 100 million. The target of the program is 10.000 families. A number of 79% from entirety program fund will be delivered to villager in the form of building material or in the form of opened saving in BCA; 10% will be exploited for training, local staff honor, and purchasing various need goods which related to program; the rest of fund is for the expenditure of program, for example for the payment of house-lease cost and office, electrics account, transportation and telephone.

"Why do we build their house before anything else, because the society's urgent requirement is house. From house then they start all their life, including livelihoods," said Bill Marsden, Senior Program Advisor of BRCS.

With BRCS's cash the villagers return to their villages. Pulo Aceh. Barracks have been woke up for temporary residence during each citizen's houses stand up. American Red Cross provide clean water medium and sanitation, Austrian Red Cross assist to develop school buildings, Swedish and Canadian Red Cross provide timber. And of course PMI involved it.

Spirit of Returning

Actually, it's not right time yet for villager return to Pulo Aceh. It's true there barracks, but not yet been completed other facilities, for example clean water medium. But, impatience has lighted upon them. "We are tire live in barracks, cannot do anything. We do not want to my life depending on jadup (life guarantee)," said Khairi Abbas, a Gugup villager.

Returning immediately to homeland and begin a new life is desire which must immediately realize. In kampong, they can start to garden -there is fruits and chili plant which they can manage and not how long cropped. Also, they can start to build houses with PMI, even there is villagers who still have to apart with family. Zaitun is an example. This 17 year girl still has to live in Banda Aceh, disjointing from her parents, to continue her education. The school building is not reestablished yet.

To be scheduled, newly mid of this July the villagers return to Pulo Aceh. But their impatience is so high. They have the extraordinary spirit to start their life. The economic activity is also running. A group of villager starts to sale ex-iron, starting to go out to sea again, re-cultivate and opening small-scale shop. "And I wish to encourage my child and grandchild: let's awaken. Don't remind again this disaster," said grandfather of Jafar.