APJC group makes a return to Aceh 10 years after the tsunami

An APJC group returned to Aceh in December to see how the province was faring 10 years after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

The four were part of an original group of nine Australian news media professionals who visited Aceh in 2005 as part of an APJC study tour to Indonesia.

“Life is back to normal in a sense,” said APJC director John Wallace, “but the scars – both human and physical are very visible, and economic development is very slow.”

Wallace said the experience of going back was very moving for each member of the group. “You can see this the reports. And for APJC, we have strengthened our links with news media and other groups in Aceh, which will be a great help for our future work with Indonesian news media.”

As well as reconnecting with communities and contacts they made in the capital, Banda Aceh, in 2005, the group travelled to two other regencies heavily affected by the tsunami.

The 2014 group comprised:

Michele Mossop – freelance photographer
Greg Roberts – journalist, AAP
Christopher Zinn – director campaigns & communications, Adviser Ratings
John Wallace – director, APJC

The group was assisted in Aceh by Banda Aceh-based journalists Hotli Simanjuntak and Firman Hidayat.

In 2005, APJC also ran a series of videoconferences for senior editorial staff in countries directly affected by the tsunami to share information on the disaster’s impact on communities and news media, and to discuss strategies for reporting the reconstruction effort.

Participants’ coverage:

Boxing Day tsunami: A personal account from journalist Christopher Zinn on his return to Aceh
Christopher Zinn, 26 December 2014

Finding Umar Ali and Rusnah in Banda Aceh 10 years after the tsunami
Christopher Zinn, 23 December 2014

Acehnese rise from the rubble
Greg Roberts for AAP, 18 December 2014

Anti-corruption tsar helped Aceh
Greg Roberts for AAP, 18 December 2014

Sharia in Aceh still strong after tsunami
Greg Roberts for AAP, 18 December 2014

Masthead photo: Chris, Greg, Hotli and Michele on the helipad atop the escape house at Ulee Lheue, built as a refuge in the event of another tsunami.