BANDA ACEH – With the 10th anniversary of the tsunami in Aceh, Indonesia around the corner, its residents are still traumatised by the incident.
In the blink of an eye, the tsunami killed their loved ones who disappeared from view with more than 170,000 residents reported dead.
A victim, Rahmawati Zainuddin, who was only eight then, has not forgotten the disaster which snatched the lives of her parents and two brothers.
Rahmawati, who is staying at the Dayah Darul Ulum Al-Fata orphanage in Kampung Kayee Kunyet, often, could not cope with the pains of her losses.
Her family, she said, ordered her to dash for high ground when a strong earthquake was felt at their home.
Choking back her grief when met by a Bernama reporter, Rahmawati said she did not see her family joining her, upon reaching the high ground.
Meanwhile, her cousin Mokhtar Lutfi Abdul Rashid, 27, who is also staying at the orphanage, said the incident will be clearly carved in his memory come Dec 26.
Mokhtar said he was in Kampung Kayee Kunyet, 25 km from the sea, to meet some friends.
“When I heard about the incident near my house, I rushed back to Acheh Jaya.
“I found a sister and then my mother safe and sound, but I failed to find my father and another sister,” he said.
His mother and sister had returned to Acheh Jaya but he opted to stay at the orphanage to help and guide other orphans.
However, he said he was sad to see his cousin (Rahmawati) who was still traumatised by the incident.
“She (Rahmawati) will cry all day, thinking of her fate, sometimes she would pass out, it saddens me to see her like this.
“She did not talk for two years when she came to the orphanage but she is gradually recovering,” he said.
The Dayah Darul Ulum Al-Fata orphanage was financed by the Malaysian non-government organisation, Medical Relief Society Malaysia (Mercy Malaysia), which also trained the children in vocational skills such as sewing and farming.
Head of the orphanage, Marwan Abdullah, 47, said he was able to set up an activity using more than 10 sewing machines, financed by Mercy Malaysia, to make women prayer shrouds for sale.
He said he was thankful to Malaysia which had unceasingly extended aid to the people of Acheh when they were in difficulties. – Bernama