28 December 2006
by Vero Balderas, UNV Communication Specialist Banda Aceh
UNV volunteers attend special ceremony commemorating the Tsunami Anniversary in the Lampuuk region Aceh BesarUNV volunteer Ridwan speaks to Tsunami Victim SamsudinBanda Aceh, Indonesia:
In partnership with the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, Acehnese musicians Mahrisal Rubi and Edy Erwinsyah released a song commemorating the second anniversary of the tsunami that hit several countries of South East Asia on 26 December 2004. Titled “Bersama Kita Bisa” (Together We Can Do It!), the song highlights the key role that volunteerism has played in the recovery of the affected regions in Indonesia, especially in Aceh Province.
“The song is a mixture of Acehnese and western jazz-type rhythms that blend together perfectly. It's our own volunteer contribution and a sign of gratitude for all the support volunteers have provided to the recovery of our homeland,” says music composer and singer Mahrisal Rubi.
Hundreds of listeners enjoyed the song for the first time this Tuesday, when tuning to Radio Station Prima FM, which broadcast it throughout the day.
“It was important to release it exactly two years after the tsunami, to recognize the prominent role that volunteers have played in the rehabilitation activities,” explained Radio Prima Director, Teuku Irwan. He also explained that the number of radio stations in Aceh increased only after volunteers specialized in communications travelled all the way from Jakarta to join the relief efforts, and built new broadcasting facilities just five days after the gigantic waves devastated the province.
Two years on, the reconstruction continues in different sectors thanks also to the support given by several donor countries. For example, Turkey's financial aid has resulted in the construction of 1,052 housing units, four schools, one community centre, five mosques, one football field, one clinic, and drinking water supply in Aceh Besar.
To show its gratitude for the latter, the Indonesian government organized a special ceremony yesterday in the Lampuuk region. Turkey's Minister of State, Mr. Mehmet Ali Sahin, and the recently-elected Governor of the Aceh Province, Mr. Mustafa Abu Bakar, were among the event's key speakers. They highlighted the fact that the new houses being built are stronger and would be less prone to damage even by an earthquake measuring 6.0 on the Richter Scale.
But the painful memories are still vivid for those who lost their homes and loved ones after the tsunami.
“At the slightest tremor my heart starts beating fast and I rush all my family out of our newly-built house,” says 52-year-old Samsudin. “I'm still afraid of the ocean, but I'm also grateful to all the people who are helping us rebuild our lives,” he says, adding that although painful, December 26 is now also a powerful reminder of how much can be accomplished when there is a will to unconditionally help those who suffer.