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The Seattle Times

After the tsunami

Reporting from Indonesia January 2005
Special Projects Index
Times reporter Hal Bernton and photographer Betty Udesen traveled to Indonesia's Aceh province, the area hardest hit by the Dec. 26 earthquake and tsunami.

They reported on conditions faced by survivors and on efforts by international relief organizations to deliver aid and rebuild the devastated region.

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slideshow
with audio

Aid workers learning how hard it will be
The fate of Kuala Bubon offers dramatic evidence of the difficulties that face aid organizations as they respond to the havoc wreaked on coastal villages along the western Sumatra coast.

Body retrievals keep crews busy
In normal times, Gurun Reinanto would be home in Indonesia's capital city, hunting for work after graduating with a civil-engineering degree. Instead, he is here, hunting for corpses.

Help slow to arrive for town that died
In the midst of perhaps the largest international relief effort in history, substantial outside help is just now more than two weeks later starting to reach Calang and neighboring villages.

Fishing town works to salvage livelihood
Small bits of normal life are returning to hard-hit Meulaboh. Cellphones are working again. The main avenue is again passable to the port. Schools are starting to get back in session. Fishing, however, has remained at a virtual standstill.

For survivors, hope arrives from the skies
Most every day, small bands of men, women and sometimes children congregate on a surviving piece of roadway or gather along crescents of coastal sand to flag down the U.S. Navy helicopters.

Delayed return may have saved UW student
Sylvia Agustina planned to come back home to Indonesia in early December, as soon as she finished her master's thesis. But an instructor asked her to put in more work on her final paper.

War survives tsunami's impact
The villager wants to speak of death not the random wrath of a runaway sea, but the calculated and more recent killings undertaken by Indonesian security forces. "Everybody is talking about the tsunami," he said "Nobody is talking about what is happening here."

Q & A
Seattle Times editor Jim Simon moderates a discussion with Hal Bernton and Betty Udesen.