IN PHOTOS: Coming to Aceh’s aid
IN PHOTOS: Coming to Aceh’s aid


Ten years on, we look back at the early days of one of the largest humanitarian efforts the world has mounted – responding to the December 26 tsunami in Aceh

JAKARTA, Indonesia — After the waters receded in Aceh on that fateful December day, the gargantuan task that lay ahead slowly became clear: Tens of thousands were missing and feared dead. Hundreds of thousands were homeless and in need of food and medical attention. And there was practically no infrastructure to speak of.

The December 26, 2004 earthquake and tsunami – one of the worst natural disasters in recorded history – spawned one of the largest humanitarian responses the world has seen.   

But first, the world had to figure out how to get there. With ports, roads, and airports completely destroyed, a relatively new Cessna Caravan owned by a fisheries businesswoman – now Minister for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti – became the first to land in the devastated towns of Simeleu and Meulaboh. 

Eventually, help came. In fact, help poured in. About $14 billion was raised internationally – an unprecedented amound – for the worst-affected countries. In the months and years that followed, many would analyze the relief effort and criticize the failures. Nevertheless, the fact remains that the world came to Aceh’s aid. 

Photos below are from AFP and EPA

Then President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and First Lady Herawati Kristiani comfort a victim a day after the tsunami. Yudhoyono cut short a trip to Papua, Indonesia's easternmost province, and flew to the country's westernmost region.
Tending to the wounded was among the urgent tasks, and volunteers from groups like the Red Crescent team came to their aid.
Food was another big issue. The man here is seen pleading for food from a US Air Force soldier.
Refugees from a devastated village swarm a US Navy Sea Hawk helicopter as it drops water and other supplies near the ground in Teunom, 170 kms southwest of Banda Aceh, a week after the tsunami hit.   
The world came to help. Here, Australian soldiers and locals assist an elderly survivor as she disembarks from an RAAF C-130 Hercules.
Malaysia sent its disaster rescue team to help. In this photo, they are seen helping Indonesian troops unload relief goods. 
A girl cuddles her sister as her whole family – along with hundreds of thousands of others – adapts to life in a refugee camp.
A boy cries as he is shot with Morbilli immunisation at a refugee camp.


In Banda Aceh, survivors wear masks to avoid the smell of rotting corpses.


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