Looking back moving forward

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In March I went to Aceh to cover the aftermath of the tsunami and document the people’s recovery.

We tend to forget about the long-term consequences of such an event. Many Acehnese are still suffering emotionally and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is common.

Of course we cannot see this with our human eyes, whereas we can see the devastation of houses, buildings and affected areas. The priority for the government is to get the infrastructure fixed and rebuild Aceh. I was interested, however, in documenting the experience of the people.
The images here come from the hospital for the mentally ill and the refuges for sex workers. Many of those suffering PTSD are sent to the psychiatric hospital as they have no family to care for them. Similarly, girls as young as 16 work as sex workers. They have lost their family and there is no one to provide for them. They don’t know much about safe sex. Drugs and alcohol are used as a temporary outlet in coping.

The tsunami destroyed most buildings and killed almost 100,000 people in Aceh. Many Acehnese were left unemployed and now struggle to make ends meet, collecting scrap metal for recycling.

Many lost family members and siblings, and became homeless. Those who lost their entire family are now supported by friends and non-government organisations in refugee camps.

Bachtiar Bin Hussen, 48, lost eight of his children and his wife during the tsunami in Lhok Nga, Aceh Besar. During the tsunami, he grabbed hold of three of his children but was unable to hold any longer. He only managed to save his daughter.

The population in Lhok Nga before the tsunami was 7500; only 400 survived. Mamin, nine, lost his siblings. NGOs have built orphanages to house these children.

Words and images by Mathias Heng.



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There is a link to this article on wikipedia, sadly no pictures here Maybe, for the better though.
Roman | 11 February 2017


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