All was calm on the sea front early this morning in Banda Aceh, despite an earthquake (5.9) hitting the off shore island of Simeulue at 4.35 a.m. (photo below: Bob McKerrow) Up at 5 am this morning. A beautiful dawn broke as we drove down to the port in Banda Aceh. The Al Jeezera TV crew were all set up. Fauziah Ibrahim the front woman was waiting to interview Danny and I. The back drop was a ship sitting restfully on the roof of a house, cast there by the Tsunami almost five years ago.
Fauziah getting wired up for the interview, Danny Hilman in the red shirt, and I on the right. Photo: Danny Hilman
It was a tranquil scene this morning and hard to believe 170,000 people were killed and 100, 000 missing in Aceh. Photo: Bob McKerrow
Ebrahim Faghihi head of our operation in Aceh with Fauziah Ibrahim this morning. Ebrahim and I worked in Afghanistan in 1995-96 and are enjoy working together again.
The 20 munute interview went well with Fauziah asking a few tough questions, but that's the way it's got to be. We are accountable for an unprecedented amount of public money from all around the world, and we have to be totally transparent and accountable. The interview will be shown on 26 December.Fauziah interviewing Danny and I in front of the ship, left sitting on top of a house, after being carried 3 km by the Tsunami.
Fauziah Ibrahim, Aljazeera presenter, Danny Hilman Natawidjaja, Seismologist and Tsunami expert and myself in Banda Aceh.
But where did that ship come behind us sitting on the roof of a house ?
They are ships that fell from the sky; two immovable objects, their very presence defying reason.
Banda Aceh residents call them acts of God. Most cannot fathom that the two ocean vessels were transported miles inland by flood waters of the 2004 tsunami that ravaged this small city on Sumatra’s northern tip.
Miles apart, both have been left intact as memorials to 170,000 residents of Aceh who were lost in the catastrophe.
Five years after the waters rose to biblical heights, the city continues to rebuild, erecting schools, clinics, roads and villages in coastal areas wiped clean by the invading ocean. It has been good to be a part of it and I thank the Red Cross for giving me this opportunity.
So many good memories. Some of my favourite photos below: