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Grief Overcomes Tsunami Survivors Every Ramadan

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BANDA ACHEH – Each time Ramadan comes, Nia Daniati Insya, 32, is overcome with grief whenever she remembers four of her loved ones who died during the tsunami in Acheh 13 years ago.

Recalling the tragedy, Nia Daniati. who was 19 then, was at her aunt’s house, helping to prepare for a feast for pilgrims.

“The tragedy took away my parents and two younger siblings who were at another village. My youngest brother and I survived as we were able to seek shelter on the top floor of our aunt’s house.

“Although I am deeply scarred by the disaster, as a Muslim, I believe that it is Allah’s test to his chosen ones. We, at Acheh, continue to rise and rebuild our lives.

“The tragedy opened the eyes of the world to Acheh and they have given us various assistance, ” said the mother-of-two when met by Bernama during a four-day visit that concludes tomorrow by ‘Kembara Dakwah Media Terengganu´ to the area that once was hit by tsunami.

Nia Daniati, who is now a manager of the Media Kasih Banda Aceh Orphanage, here, said ever since the tragedy, she had committed her life to charity work and providing love to orphans in the region.

The orphanage built in February 2005 is managed full time by five women and its financial sources are from donations of people who sympathised with the fate of the tsunami victims.

More than 150 children of tsunami victims had stayed at the orphanage since 2004 and from that total many are now working as nurses, other government staff and in the private sector.

Nia Daniati said currently only 50 orphans sought shelter in the welfare home, including two survivors of the tragedy.

“Although living in dire circumstances, as guardians, we will ensure that all our wards get sufficient guidance in accordance with Islamic needs. We are also greatly proud of our former wards who are now working as traders and most of them contribute in terms of money and workforce to the orphanage, ” she said.

“During the tragedy, my family and I were on our way to grandmother’s house…but, before reaching there, I heard screams and people were running everywhere, frantically trying to save themselves.

“When I regained consciousness, I realised that someone had rescued me and brought me to a higher spot…I only saw murky water hit the houses below, and an instance, I lost my younger sibling and parents. However, my elder sister was found alive, stuck in a tree, ” said Wahyu Ulul Amri Suhardi, 19, one of the tsunami survivors still staying in the home, who was six during the incident.

The tour organised by the Ajil state constituency office was aimed at observing Acheh’s rebuilding process following the tragedy in 2004.

Meanwhile Ajil state assemblyman, Ghazali Taib, who is also Terengganu Communications and Special Tasks Committee chairman, said the visit was also to forge closer ties between Terengganu and Banda Acheh while observing the life of tsunami orphans there.

“Most of the orphans here lost their parents and families during the tragedy. Although they led a hard life, they never neglected their studies and some of them have started work and pursued education until university level, ” said Ghazali, who led a 65-member group to visit the orphanage to hand over donations for Ramadan.

Also present in the tour are state Religious Affairs Department commissioner Datuk Wan Mohd Wan Ibrahim; Hulu Terengganu district officer Azmi Razik, staff of Ajil Transformation Agency (ATRA); department heads and 17 media representatives from various agencies including Bernama and the state Communication Unit office.



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