Indian Ocean tsunami: Survivors 10 years on

By: 
CARE
Ernawati pictured with the original CARE packages that she received in the immediate aftermath of the tsunami

10 years on, we visited some of the people in Aceh, Indonesia, who we helped just after the tsunami hit.

Ernawati, shopkeeper

"You have to understand, we didn’t have anything then."

“Then we got family survival kits from CARE, full of things we needed… mosquito nets, blankets, food… it was amazing. And the plastic bins are very useful containers! I still use the cooking pan, the knife, the cups… you can see, they are good quality.”

CARE helped Ernawati to build a kiosk to run a small shop, and provided cash vouchers towards a house. “Even before the tsunami, I wished I could make a business like this,” she says.

Thank you to the world for helping us.

Usman, owner of a fish-drying business

Usman working at his fish-drying business which he rebuilt with support from CARE © CARE / Josh Estey

Usman working at his fish-drying business which he rebuilt with support from CARE

Everything was destroyed. The only thing that remained of the house was the cement foundation. We were left with nothing.

CARE helped Usman to re-start his business, providing a few fibreglass coolers to hold the fish, drying racks, and plastic tarps to cover the fish. Later, Usman was one of 1,776 families to receive a new house from CARE.

All this – my house, my business, the people working with me – none of this would be here if the world hadn’t helped us after the tsunami.

Zaharatunisa, school girl

Zaharatunisa studying at the school built by CARE © CARE / Josh Estey

Zaharatunisa studying at the school built by CARE

I want to say thank you to the people in the whole wide world because they helped us when there was a tsunami.

Zaharatunisa was just 18 months old when the tsunami crashed into her village. She doesn’t remember that day, or that all that remained of the village were the foundations of houses, stripped bare.

What Zaharatunisa knows is her village in Saree, a community built from the ground up by CARE to resettle families whose houses and land were washed away in the tsunami. Her new home revolves around her school, built by CARE, where Zaharatunisa, now 12, is an outspoken, bright-eyed student.

“Thank you for our school.”

Sukandawati, midwife

Sukandawati waters cocoa seedlings in her front yard waiting to be transplanted into her field nearby © CARE / Josh Estey

Sukandawati waters cocoa seedlings in her front yard waiting to be transplanted into her field nearby

“We were carried away by the water. I lost hold of my daughter’s hand, and then I was swept under. I couldn’t see my children. I found two of them, but my daughter was gone. I never found her.”

Today, Sukandawati lives in Saree, where CARE has resettled families whose homes and land were washed away in the tsunami. CARE built a community from the ground up: houses, roads, a school, and a free water supply.

“There has been amazing change since the tsunami, but now we must think about the poorer people living here, and help them to advance also and get a better life.”

The world helped us after the tsunami, and now we help each other.

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News and stories are provided by CARE staff working to support our emergency responses and long-term development programmes.