To Witness the Traces of 2004 Aceh Tsunami


On that bright sunny day, the weather was so hot. Fortunately, our car had a good suspension system and its air condition was working properly so that made me comfortable. Four hour journey from Banda Aceh to Calang did not make me tired. The car drove fast on the west coast of Aceh, along the wide, smooth, thick black asphalt roads, still in ongoing development. The roads were deserted, not many vehicles we encountered with.

A landscape of Barisan Mountain Range

The scenery on both sides of the road was really interesting, made these eyes widely open, so valuable to be ignored. Some of  road segments extend cutting through sedimentary rock hills, clearly reveal the rock layers and also the structures. These relatively newly cropped out cliffs are free of vegetation  and has not been weathered.

A coastal area of Calang in the morning

On the left side, Barisan Mountain Range makes lines of triangular structures. Stand sturdyly with towering cones, looks blue from a distance. In the foreground, there were a landscape of  green shrubs,  one or two groups of coconut trees standing like poles among the grass. The leaves were waving, blew by the wind. Under the shadows of coconut leaves, the cattles like cows or goats were calmly grazing. Once in a while there were cattles playing on the street. Also found were  bodies of water in the form of small ponds filled with clear water.

On the right side, tourqoise Indian Ocean spread widely. There are a few small islands off shore. Some coastal lands were arid, no grass grew, looked red brown or corally white. Parts of coasts were planted with sea firs, function as sea wave barriers as well as shades for them who want to enjoy coasts. The coasts were still natural, has not been managed professionally. If coastal land were planted with firs, then watery coasts were filled with mangroves, which also function as sea wave barriers when tsunami hits the coastal area.

Tsunami traces visible include a destroyed former road, situated side by side with the new one, the remnants of tsunami swept fisherman village. The fragments of houses’ poles emerge  among the water. The area was a village and now becomes a part of Indian Ocean water. The coastline has changes. The stumps of  mangroves dried and from the water new generations of mangroves replace. The ruins of a bridge at an estuary connecting both sides of a river, which are now submerged. The bridge is now replaced by rafts which can cross over one or two cars at a time in return a sum of money.

Ruins of a bridge connecting both sides of a river

Now, the villages by the sea are disappeared. The settlements have been moved away from the coasts, occupy  higher places whenever possible. The west coasts of Aceh were terribly devastated  by  the 2004 tsunami, of which are Lamno and Calang. The tsunami victims are more than the survivors. Now,  life along the west coast becomes more quiet. For some of them the memories of the tragedy still linger on, they can tell the stories how the giant waves attacked their villages. Some still feel traumatic, especially they who lost their dearest dan nearest ones, their spouses or children.  Slowly, they stand up to manage their lives. Life must go on….. (Imtihanah, May 12th 2011)

One thought on “To Witness the Traces of 2004 Aceh Tsunami

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s