Indonesia`s Aceh still healing five years after tsunami
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Last Updated: Tuesday, December 22, 2009, 09:12
Lampuk (Indonesia): Ikra Alfila has rediscovered the joy of play, but the little 10-year-old still has nightmares about giant waves five years after the tsunami that killed everyone in her family except her father.

Life has resumed its tranquil course in Ikra's fishing village of Lampuk, which was all but wiped off the map on that awful day on December 26, 2004, when an earthquake off the Sumatran coast unleashed a wall of water.

Most of the physical damage has been cleaned up thanks to a massive international relief effort, but the emotional and psychological trauma for the survivors of Indonesia's Aceh province may never heal.

"Even if I wanted to, I couldn't forget. It's the same for my friends who survived," Ikra says, her voice breaking.

Indonesia was the nation hardest hit by the tsunami, with at least 168,000 people killed when the sea surged over the northern tip of Sumatra island. Over 50,000 more died in Sri Lanka, Thailand and India.

Images of the devastation around Lampuk, where the mosque was the only building left standing in a landscape of flattened trees and rubble, were flashed around the world in the days after the disaster.

Houses, schools, businesses and markets were washed away as far as seven kilometres inland, and more than one in five villagers lost their lives.


First Published: Tuesday, December 22, 2009, 09:12

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