- by Patrick Nicholson
many in Aceh the tsunami killed without warning, extinguishing lives in
an instant. Some survived because they were washed onto the tops of
coconut trees, where they clung on for their lives.
saw the ten metre high wave bearing down on them, describing the dark
wall of water as a giant question mark. They ran for their lives, many
were caught by the water and killed by the debris churning within it.
Mahmoud, 32 years old, lives in Blang Krueng, a coastal village on the
outskirts of the province's capital Banda Aceh. He did not see the
waves coming because he has been blind since he was a baby. "There was
incredible confusion," he said.
were running in every direction, saying the sea was coming. It was
terrifying, but my nephew found me and helped me escape. We were
knocked off our feet many times by the current, but eventually we found
safety. Without my nephew, I do not know if I would be here today."
Indonesian province of Aceh was devastated by the tsunami on 26
December 2004: 170,000 people were killed, and 500,000 have been made
"It was traumatic
for everybody," said Razali. "There were bodies everywhere. People were
searching for friends and family. They said that we could not go back
to the village because there was nothing left there but corpses." His
survival was miraculous, but he does not think himself lucky. He lost
his mother and two brothers that day.
will move into his new home next month. Islamic Relief is nearing
completion of the house. "I feel very happy about moving into my new
house and starting to live again," he said. "For the last year I have
been living in temporary shelter and it will be good to have a home
again. I'm looking forward to just having some place where I can listen
to the radio again."
Relief is building another 49 houses in Razali's village for widows of
the tsunami. Nearby, the finishing touches are being put on another 100
houses that Islamic Relief is building for the workers at the local
university who have been living in classrooms.
Mahmoud said it has been difficult finding his bearings again in the
village. As a blind man, he would get around by remembering where
everything was. Now the village has been wiped away down to its
foundations, and he must rely on the help of his friends to get around.
But he is hopeful that in two years the village will be rebuilt and he will be back on feet again finding his own way around