Survivors face future . . and a return to the sea

Survivors face future . . and a return to the sea
The Scotsman – Edinburgh,Scotland,UK

Survivors face future … and a return to the sea


Edinburgh has ‘adopted’ the tsunami-hit region of Aceh in Indonesia, where city-based aid agency Mercy Corps plans a long-term programme funded by the Capital Appeal, which is backed by the Evening News. A key aim is to get those who have lost their livelihoods back into work. Here, Julia Horton, in Aceh, reports on one success story as the first fishing boat returns to the water

‘ONE, two, three, back to the sea!” The fisherman’s rhythmic, repetitive singing carries clearly through the humid air in the tiny village of Meureubo in the tsunami-hit Aceh province of Indonesia.

It is met by shouting, whooping and laughter from the 50-strong group of friends and neighbours who are gathered with him around a 40ft wooden boat.

Buoyed by the spirits of the traditional Aceh song, the men grab the faded red, green and black boat, some pulling it from the front with a thick rope, others holding on to the sides and back to push. All are intent on dragging the vessel back to the shore after the devastating Boxing Day waves flung it inland to lie upturned amidst the broken ruins of streets and houses.

Watching them as their faces contort with effort in the blinding sunshine, they seem determined to try to match the power of the water. It is obvious that they are glad to be doing something positive in the aftermath of the disaster.

At the water’s edge, the men joke with each other, some with cigarettes hanging from their lips, some in wellies, others in flip-flops, as they set about lowering the boat carefully into the muddy water below.

As it slides into the sea, its owner, Rusli, leaps aboard and immediately starts pumping water out of the vessel, before pausing and turning back to the shore with a grin to give a thumbs-up to the other fishermen who yell and clap in celebration.


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