Looking back: Tsunami disaster that hit Aceh in 2004

By Fitrianti

GOMBAK: A successful event to commemorate the disaster that hit Acheh in 2004 titled “Aceh: 10 years after earthquake and tsunami” was organised by TARSA (Tanoh Rencong Student Association), International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) recently.

The chairman of TARSA IIUM, Fathul Hadi, said the purpose of the programme was to commemorate the decade after tsunami calamity that destroyed Aceh and other places on 26 December 2004.

“The event is also aimed to inform people that tsunami had happened in Aceh and we have recovered, we have grown up from the disaster to achieve the bright future in Aceh”, he said.

Among the guest of the programme was the Director of the Corporate Communication Division of IIUM, Dato’  Hamidon Abd. Hamid. In his speech, Dato’ Hamidon said: “Tsunami has brought us many lessons not only for the Aceh people but for all of us in this world. Allah can test our iman through many ways, like through the tsunami. However, the people of Aceh have to be united for the betterment of Aceh in the future.”

The responses toward the event was very positive. Ibrahim, an IIUM student from Syria said: “The event was very good to promote Aceh post-tsunami”.

Meanwhile, Rina a participant from Cambodia said that she is really thankful to the TARSA students because of their hard work and effort to present such event. “I thank the Acehnese students in IIUM who organised this event because I was a survivor of the 2004 tsunami and still alive, whereas many people were gone. The programme would be a reminder for me to always thank Allah who has given me another chance of life, and for those who died in the disaster, they are always in our thoughts and prayers.”

Another participant, Muhammad from Thailand, who lost his sister in the tsunami said the programme reminds people that there is Allah who only controls us every single time. “This programme has benefited us as participants as a reminder of the power of Allah,” his friend Hafidz said.

Responding to the unexpected audiences to the programme, the programme manager, Dara Adillah, said she and the committee do appreciate and thank those who came to the event.

“Well, the audiences were really out of expectation. There were many friends from other countries who came and through their participation we realised that there are many people who care for Aceh, ” Dara said.

The 10-year commemoration of tsunami in Aceh had featured several programmes including the tsunami theatrical performance, a poetry acclamation, as well as the sharing of real experiences from people who had experienced the disaster.

A Turkish, a Thai, and two Indonesian students shared their experiences during the difficulties of tsunami and the recovery time at the event. The theatrical performance featured Aceh during the Sunday morning of 26 December 2004. It depicted the time how the tsunami came and destroyed the place within a few minutes.

“The theatre performance was very touching, I got the message of the performance. I cried watching it. I can imagine the feeling of the tsunami victims on that day,” said Sabariah, a Malaysian student.

At the end of the theatre, the actors held the flags of those countries around the world which have helped, supported and contributed to Aceh during the difficult times. Fathul Hadi also stated that the event was aimed to promote post-tsunami Aceh to the people around the world.

“We cannot deny that the world knew Aceh because of the destruction caused by tsunami in 2004. So, this event is also aimed to promote Aceh to the people who do not know Aceh, as well as to thank the world for what they did to the Aceh people during the tsunami and the recovery process. We welcome all people to visit and to explore more about Aceh,” he ended the conversation.

As we know, Aceh-Indonesia and other places in the world such as Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Maldives, and many other countries were affected by the biggest disaster in the twenty first century tsunami. The most destructive area was Aceh in Indonesia with more than 13,000 people died and many others were missing.

The province of Aceh itself was involved in a conflict for thirty decades between the Aceh Free Movement (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka or GAM) and the Indonesian government. However, through the calamity, Allah had sent the Aceh people peace. Tsunami was over and the conflict ended with peace agreement. We prayed and we were grateful to Allah SWT.

Indeed Allah says, “Fainna ma`al usri yusra, innama`al usri yusra, for indeed, with hardship [will be] eased. Indeed, with hardship [will be] eased. So when you have finished [your duties], then stand up [for worship]. And to your Lord direct [your] longing (Qur`an 94:6-8).”

If you are excited about Aceh, let`s visit the country. For more information, you can contact Fitrianti at +60182593364 (available by WhatApps messenger only).***


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