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Southwestern

Alan Brant*

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Mourning The Dead, Focusing On The Living

Minutes after feeling the earthquake on December 26, Ibu Tetty was in her house in the small village of Desa Nusa, about ten kilometers from the coast in Indonesia's Aceh province. She was giving thanks that her home was still standing. "But then I saw the people running up the hill," she says, pointing at […]

FIRST-PERSON: Tsunami victims ask, ‘Is Allah punishing us?’

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (BP)--From the comfortable cab of an air-conditioned SUV, it was hard not to feel as if the scene I was seeing outside the window was simply images from a movie.

In Indonesia, survivors & aid workers mourn the dead, focus on the needs of the living

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Barefoot survivor
A barefoot tsunami survivor pushes a wheelbarrow through debris near the center of Banda Aceh, Indonesia, on Jan. 4. People across the city, desperate for help, ask for rubber gloves and masks while they help recover some of the thousands of corpses of victims of the Dec. 26 earthquake and tsunami.
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (BP)--Minutes after feeling the earthquake Dec. 26, Ibu Tetty was in her house in the small village of Desa Nusa, about 10 kilometers from the coast in Indonesia's Aceh province.
      She was giving thanks that her home was still standing.
      “But then I saw the people running up the hill,” she says, pointing at the slope rising nearby. “'Why are you running?’ I asked them. “They were screaming, ‘Water! Water! Run!’ There was no time to get anything from the house.”
      The frightened villagers climbed on top of homes at the top of the hill. “When the water came, it was rolling and rolling,” Tetty recalls, spinning her hands frantically. “'Oh, dear God!’ I was crying. People were screaming and crying, ‘Forgive us, God! Have mercy on us, God!’”
      With tears in her eyes, she looks toward the ocean. “Alhamdulillah [thanks be to Allah], all of my family is OK.”