On the anniversary of the Tsunami, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and other international dignitaries paid their respects to victims of the Tsunami.
The President was welcomed by the Mayor of Aceh, IRW General Manager Mr. Haroun Atallah, and IR's Head of Mission in Aceh, Khaled Khalifa.
The ceremony took place at a special memorial site constructed by Islamic Relief in the Meuraxa Sub-district of Banda Aceh with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The site allows survivors to remember and honour family members and friends that died in the Tsunami and provides a dignified place for the deceased.
The President placed two special “growing stones” on the site. This is an Acehnese tradition, and, according to legend, these stones will grow over time along with the memories of those that have passed away.
The President was also greeted by 16 orphans from the Meuraxa Sub-district.
The memorial site provides a final resting place for about 14,000 victims of the earthquake-tsunami which represents almost 10% of the total estimated victims of the tsunami in Aceh and about half of the estimated dead in Meuraxa Sub-district.
Meuraxa was one of the most severely affected areas in Aceh. Meuraxa Sub-district had a population of 31,218 before the tsunami; today, 84% are either dead or missing.
President Susilo (left) with Mr Haroun Atallah (second right) and Khaled Khalifa (right) of IR
Islamic Relief and the UNDP worked with survivors of Meuraxa
subdistrict on this community project. The project was designed as part
of a wider set of rehabilitation activities implemented by the United
Nations agencies to respond to the needs of the communities in Aceh and
Islamic Relief in Aceh
Islamic Relief is an international humanitarian organization based in Birmingham, UK and is active in over 20 countries.
As well as responding to disasters and emergencies, Islamic
Relief promotes sustainable economic and social development by working
with local communities - regardless of race, religion or gender.
Islamic Relief began its program in Aceh on 27th December 2004, a day
after the Tsunami.
Its programmes in the region include building homes, health
clinics, schools and providing water and livelihood support for the
people of Aceh.