Aceh Livelihood Training and Environmental Education Center
Banda Aceh was by far the most damaged by the tsunami. It alone lost 160,000 people. The livelihoods of most of the survivors were lost when the rush of seawater rendered much of Aceh’s cultivable land unusable and virtually destroyed the day-fishing industry.
We are supporting local Aceh NGO Yayasan Lambabat’s Ujung Pancu Project, which involves over 6,000 local people who are transitioning to sustainable and environmentally friendly development, protection, and conservation.
Pancu means “end water source.” It lies six miles from Banda Aceh town at the most northern end of the mountain range that runs from West Sumatra to Aceh.
The mountains, hills, and wetlands in this area host outstanding beauty and are filled with gibbons, monkeys, wild pigs, deer, deer mice, porcupines, monitor lizards, and many species of birds and other wildlife yet to be identified. Aceh’s forests are being cut down rapidly for building materials and farming land. It is generally feared that the communities and industry will eventually clear the area.
The remaining forest needs to be protected in order to provide a safe haven for existing wildlife and to provide lasting benefits to the local communities. Not only do the forests supply a free source of food such as fruits and nuts, they also protect the communities from potentially lethal flooding and landslides.
- Youth and Children Environment Training Center and Community Store
- Training Center for Women and Youth
- Transition to organic farming and reforestation cultivation program
- Seaweed cultivation and fish farming program
Our local NGO project partner, Yayasan Lamjabat, exemplifies ASR’s mission to incorporate an environmental perspective when looking at development. In addition to raising awareness about ecological issues in the region, the Ujung Pancu Project addresses the rights and protection of women, children, and the elderly.
Early Warning and Disaster Preparedness Center
Soon after the tsunami, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) officials proposed the idea of a tsunami early warning system for Southeast Asia. If one had been in place four years ago, hundreds of thousands of lives would have been saved. Today, the entire Indian Ocean region is still without a comprehensive and coordinated warning system, and it remains completely vulnerable.
ASR is supporting a local tsunami warning center in Peraliya, a coastal village in southwestern Sri Lanka.
Though the northeastern coast of Sri Lanka was in the direct line of the tsunami, the force of the wave was so powerful that waters crashed onto the coast on the opposite side of the island as well, devastating the southwestern coastal village of Peraliya, among others. The wave was so strong, it created the world’s largest-ever train disaster when it derailed the Queen of the Seas Colombo-Galle Express train. In Peraliya village itself, it is estimated that 2,500 people died and that only eight walls from the 490 houses remained standing.
Upon hearing news of the tsunami in December 2004, Australian humanitarian medic and 9/11 first-responder Alison Thompson quickly raised $400 and headed to Sri Lanka with partner Oscar Gubernati to see how she might help. Alison and Oscar eventually landed in Peraliya. Their initial plans for a two week stay turned into a two year life-changing journey in which they established a refugee camp and subsequently created a local medical center, still thriving today, and the early warning tsunami center, the first and only one of its kind in the Indian Ocean.
Conceived by volunteers to protect the villages surrounding Peraliya, The Community Early Warning Tsunami Center’s eventual goal is to provide security along the entire Sri Lankan coast. In addition to supplying a public address system and disaster-preparedness training, CTEC aims to rediscover traditional and local knowledge of signals that portend natural disasters and to create an empowered community-based readiness culture in Sri Lanka.
After returning to The United States, Alison and Oscar put their experiences into “The Third Wave,” a documentary film chronicling their experience in Peraliya, in order to keep the attention on tsunami relief and to bring much-needed funding to CTEC and to the entire area. The film’s title, The Third Wave, refers to the wave of volunteers who flooded the region.
Aid Still Required shares CTEC’s commitment to the spirit of volunteerism, to the importance of active and empowered local communities, and to the necessity of providing information and training for sustainable, ecologically friendly development.