I have been in Banda Aceh for the last few days which is the headquarters for a huge Red Cross rehabilitation operation for people affected by the Tsunami in Aceh province. Around 180,000 were killed and millions rendered homeless. With the earthquake in China and the typhoon in Myanmar hitting the headlines, rehabilitation work continues in the Tsunami affected areas of Indonesia
Two photographs below of damage caused by the Tsunami in Aceh on 26 December 2004.
To date we have built 20,000 transitional shelters and have 20,000 permanent houses in various stages of completion. We also have major livelihoods, water sanitation, disaster preparedness, health, blood, ambulance and community outreach programmes.
A house built by the German Red Cross in Calang, Aceh
Family life is back to normal as people enjoy their new homes and improved coummity facilities
It is such a joy to see people rebuilding their lives and most have conditions which are better than before the Tsunami. The international community is helping the people of Aceh to build back better.
As I travel I can't help but be overwhelmed by the resilience of the people and the beauty of the country side.
I am now in Medan, the biggest seaport in Indonesia where we are having a meeting tonight and tommorw about the future of the Tsuanmi operation with the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, UN, Government of Indonesia.
The man who gave the leadership, displayed courage and innovation and has steered this operation through the last three and a half year is an exceptional man, Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, Director of the Executing Agency for Rehabilitation and Recontruction of Aceh and Nias, the Tsunami affected areas. Kuntoro has been a human dynamo and visionary working 15 hours a day, at least 7 days a week in leading this mammoth reconstruction operation which I believe has been the best in the world in decades, if not ever.
The photo below shows Kuntoro on the left, and myself on the right when we travelled to the island Simeulue recently.