A decade ago on 26th December 2014, the province of Aceh In the north-western-most part of Indonesia was devastated by a disaster of gigantic proportions that shook the world, known as the Aceh Tsunami.
After years of rehabilitation and restoration work, today the province and the people of Aceh have managed to overcome the catastrophe and continue with building their cities and their life. To remind us of this trageddy that occurred 10 years ago, the 10th Indian Ocean Tsunami Disaster Commemoration will be held on 25th to 28th December 2014, centered in the capital city of Banda Aceh.
The commemoration is intended for people to reflect and remember the thousands who lost their life in this tremendous tragedy; a deep appreciation for the sincere response and sympathies extended by global communities for Aceh’s survival and redevelopment; and as media to raise awareness globally of the need for the world to be prepared for, and reduce risks in similar future disasters. The event will also be an occasion to promote Aceh internationally as a tourist destination.
Solemn prayers and religious sermons will reverberate at the Baiturrahman Grand Mosque on 25th December as thousands of people recall and relive those tragic days through religious activities in the Reflection of Aceh Tsunami Disaster. The pinnacle of the series of events in this commemoration will take place on 26th December 2014 to be attended by Government Officials of the nation and of Aceh Province, representatives from neigbouring countries, social organizations, and representatives of the people of Aceh.
Carrying the theme “Let’s Continue Building Aceh with Heart” the commemoration is expected to raise contributions from donors, national governments, and governmental bodies. The commemoration will also be highlighted with a Global Disaster Expo to be held at the Blang Padang area, and a creative art and photography exhibition in the Aceh Tsunami Museum on 26th December 2014.
For two straight days, from 26th to 27th December 2014, there will be Aceh Art Nights as an appreciation from Aceh to the World. The event will be highlighted with works from some of Aceh’s finest artists.
The 10 year Commemoration of the Aceh Tsunami will reach its finale with the Tsunami 10K running competition as symbol of hope in humanity. Participants will gain a better understanding on the rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts of Aceh by running past areas that were destroyed or affected by the Tsunami.
The Aceh Tsunami, also known as the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and Tsunami, occurred unexpectedly that Sunday morning on 26 December 2014, regarded as one of the most devastating natural disasters in recorded history. The tragedy started when a huge 9.2 RS earthquake with epicenter near the island of Simeuleu, close to the shore of Aceh, shook the area. This was followed by an enormous tsunami that made landfall in Aceh within only 15 minutes. By the end of the day the Indian Ocean tsunami had killed an unsuspecting 280,000 people in fourteen countries around the Indian Ocean from Indonesia, Thailand, Srilanka to the Seychelles and Madagascar in Africa, drowning coastal areas with waves of up to 30 meters high.
Vast swathes of the west coast of Aceh that included the cities of Banda Aceh, Calang, and Meulaboh, were completely destroyed being located closest to the epicenter, giving no time for anyone to escape. It is estimated that in Aceh more than 170,000 people were killed by this tsunami and about 500,000 were made homeless.
Today, one can learn more about the tragic disaster at the Aceh National Museum which is dedicated as a monument and symbolic reminder of this incredible calamity. Other stunning testament of the tragedy is the Land-stuck PLTD Apung I Ship which is a huge Floating Diesel Power Station Ship which was lifted like a toy and swept up by the huge waves to be thrown and run aground some 2 kilometers inland.
The Grand Mosque of Baiturrahman is also a silent witness to the calamity and its miracle, since the mosque was not much affected by the tsunami although all the surrounding structures were leveled to the ground. There is also the Thanks to the World Monument which symbolizes that Aceh was not alone in facing the tragic disaster. The monument is located at Blang Padang and is built as appreciation on the part of the people of Aceh to all volunteers and assistance from around the world who have helped Aceh in the recovery process.
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