Tsunami brings peace to Aceh but no change in Sri Lanka

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia, Dec 22, 2006 (AFP) – Two years after the tsunami killed some 220,000 people, Indonesia’s Aceh province is on the road to peace and tourists are flocking to Thailand’s beaches. But in Sri Lanka conflict and corruption are threatening efforts to rebuild after the disaster.

Early on December 26, 2004, a magnitude 9.3 earthquake off the Indonesian island of Sumatra triggered an ocean-wide tsunami that killed people thousands of kilometres (miles) apart on opposite sides of the Indian Ocean.

The killer waves were felt as far away as Somalia and the Maldives but it was on Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand that it unleashed its full fury.

Aceh on the northern tip of Sumatra was the closest point on land.

In minutes, the towering wall of water destroyed more than 800 kilometres (500 miles) of Aceh’s coastline, killing more than 168,000 people and leaving more than 600,000 homeless.

Nearly two years after the disaster, a massive reconstruction effort is underway, funded by the billions of dollars which flooded in from around the world in an unprecedented outpouring of generosity.

According to schedule, 48,000 of the 128,000 homes needed have already been built, said Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, director of the Aceh Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Agency