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Damage to Countries - Indonesia

Map of Indonesia
Source: CIA World Factbook

It is without any doubt that Indonesia was the worst hit by the earthquake and the resulting tsunami. The epicenter of the Earthquake was located some 160km west of Sumatra and nearly all the casualties and damage took place within the province of Aceh.

Indonesia's Ministry of Health has confirmed 166,320 dead but this is not the final count because most regions are still inaccessible and reports are slow. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated that up to 100,000 are missing. In addition, the UN estimates that 655,000 people are homeless and sheltering in scattered refugee camps across the province.

Northern Sumatra took damage from both the earthquake and the tsunami. However, most of the damage came from the tsunami that struck the coastal regions of the Aceh and the North Sumatra provinces. Ten metre tall waves passed the northern tip of Sumatra to turn southwards towards the Straits of Malacca and strike along the northeast coast.

Aircrafts that have flown over the Aceh province report of a virtually destroyed coastline. Concrete pads are all that is left of substantial structures in numerous town and villages.

The western coastline is virtually inaccessible because the only road along the coast has been disrupted due to the destruction of dozens of bridges and much of the road being washed away or blocked by mud.

Many of towns on the western coast are hence cut off from road from any airport or port, resulting in relief efforts resorting to helicopters or boats. For instance, in the town of Meulaboh virtually all the bridges are destroyed and most of asphalt roads are awash with mud.

Officials in Indonesia acknowledge they were forced to make crude estimates of the death toll due to the scale of the devastatation and the disruption of civil governance. They have been forced to use such measures as counting the number of bodies in one mass grave and multiplying that by the number of such plots. In other cases, they estimated the population of a village, counted the survivors and assumed the rest are dead. The scale of the disruption of civil governance can be witnessed from the fact that 1400 policemen have yet to report in. The entire provincial government of Aceh, with its capital at Banda Aceh is at a near collapse with the deaths of the governor, provincial legislators, and numerous government workers.

More than 30,000 deaths have been confirmed in Banda Aceh alone. Over one thousand bodies have been found littered on the streets and they were placed in mass graves without any identification as officials tried to prevent the sanitation situation from worsening.

The nearby town of Leupung has been obliterated by the tsunami. Nothing is left standing there and the estimated number of survivors is placed between two and seven hundred out of an original population of ten thousand.

Other towns affected include Calang, Meluboh, Teunmon and numerous others. Most villages are simply destroyed or are too remote.

Banda Aceh Before Tsunami

Banda Aceh After Tsunami

Source: DigitalGlobe


  • 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake. Wilkipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved February 10, 2005, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Indian_Ocean_earthquake
  • Asia's Deadly Waves. The New York Times.Retrieved February 24, 2005, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Indian_Ocean_earthquake
  • Tide of Grief. Newsweek. Retrieved February 24, 2005, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Indian_Ocean_earthquake

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