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02/11/05 12:00AM
Total Collected:
US$ 69,122.10




Summary Updates
by Saiful Mahdi


January 22, 2005 - uploaded 01/27/05 02:30PM

¬[01/21/05] [01/23/05]®



We had to leave very early for Sigli, capital of Pidie district, about 110 km from Banda Aceh. Another People Crisis Center (PCC) post is opening soon in Pidie. There are IDPs in camps and non-camps that are under-served there, although the number is not as many as in Banda Aceh or Meulaboh on the western coast of Aceh. The process of opening another command post in Pidie will not be as smooth as in Banda Aceh. One of the main concerns is security. The Indonesian military in Pidie, for example, has informally said that all humanitarian posts operating there have to get permission.


A market in Lueng Putu, on the second day of Eid Festival. Pidie has not suffered much from the quake and tsunami, but there are pockets of IDP shelters filled with people from the coast line. There are even more IDP from Banda Aceh and other districts staying at relatives.




Aceh has to endure “two emergencies” at the same time. It is under emergency relief work performed by people from all over the world and is still officially under “civil emergency status” as a continuation from martial law, where Indonesia military (TNI) is hunting down the Free Aceh Movement (GAM).



By 3pm, I am back in Banda Aceh. Some of my cousins and relatives from my village in Sigli were already in Banda Aceh to help. To plan what we were going to do the next days, we went around to see our homes, and Phi-Beta, the learning center.



Even our destroyed house is looted by scrap and “gold” hunters. Above was our home when I first arrived. Below is when we visited it again on 22/1. Looters are looking for cupboards where Acehnese usually keep their valuables.



Having learned that excavators and other heavy machines were not there yet to clear up the debris, we decided to concentrate on cleaning the learning center and leaving our house as it was, hoping that looters had already had enough and found that our house did not have any valuables.

However, the three corpses were still there. And this worried me a lot. I had to do something. But what and how? I called evacuation teams that I know, like from the Red Cross again. They said that they were coming to our village. But there were only two evacuation teams working during the Eid festival, the military team and a team from Yogyakarta’s SAR, and that they were covering other places at that moment.

Yes, of course, the cleaning up was taking places around the central city, i.e around the grand mosque of Baiturrhman as the President of Republic Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, was visiting Aceh to celebrate Eid ul ‘Adha yesterday. It is a common “secret” among ordinary people that anything can be put together to make the higher ranking officers happy, no matter how difficult things may be. We called it “ABS, Asal Bapak Senang” or As Long as The Boss Can Be Made Happy. This is a typical attitude of employees of the Indonesian government. Before the president came, the cleaning up was so slow, but just before he came, everything was speeding up. The roads are fairly well cleaned, some ornamental lamps were installed, and debris was removed more quickly.


The third floor of this house was where my surviving sister, her three kids and husband took refuge from the great wave. The house is separated by another house in front of our house. One of the daughters of the house’s owner was found dead on the second floor after the tsunami as she was too scared to climb up to the third floor after the quake.



From the “assessment” visit with my team of cousins, I went back to the command post. On the second day of Eid, a day where in the past we spent visiting friends and relatives, the post was already busy, though not as much.


PCC’s bulletin board is still full of postings from people who are looking for their missing loved ones.



Now I have settled into a more regular schedule. I start the day at PCC, going out and in from there to camps, houses where IDPs stay, coordination meetings, my university, and other places until about 8 or 9pm at nights. Then I ask somebody to drop me wherever I will spend that night. Depending whether there is electricity and dial-up internet connection, I will be working on my updates or journal until late at night.

¬[01/21/05] [01/23/05]®