Five hundred miles (800 kilometers) of coastline was wiped out when the wave struck, and essentially everything within two miles of the shore was destroyed, in some areas even further inland depending on the lay of the land and in relationship to the mountains.
Many villages are now underwater, like Atlantis of old, along this 500-mile now-completely-redrawn coastline of Aceh province. From viewing local footage of the actual tsunami wave, which brought with it piles of debris of all sorts (everything from dead bodies to smashed vehicles etc.) one must say it’s remarkable to witness the coordinated clean up effort that has taken place, not to speak of the unprecedented help that has come from abroad.
With the rebuilding efforts, Family Care Foundation has felt it best to concentrate our resources and efforts in one location. And rather than choosing to undertake development in the capital, Banda Aceh, which has received the lion’s share of attention from the NGOs, to do so in a rural area outside the main city. Thus we chose the village of Pasi, Lhoong, in the district of Aceh Besar, which spans 28 villages, 24 of which were very hard hit.
The village of Pasi, on the newly formed shoreline, is right on the coastal highway and was formed from the survivors of three former villages in the area. (For example, a village may have consisted of 2,500 people and only 12 survived, and thus those 12 remaining are now part of the new Pasi village, together with similar remnants of population from other villages.)
So Pasi is the location where Family Care Foundation is creating a Family Care zone, where a medical center will be built, where a Family Care ambulance will be based, and also where we’d undertake livelihood programs such as building a fish farm and restaurant. (And then in the future perhaps undertake develop other micro enterprises such as chicken farms, purchase sewing machines, etc.)
Concerning the fish farm, a one-hectare area (10,000 sq. meters) is ready to be developed. This fish farm will be stocked with either crabs or prawn, both to be used for food by the villagers, as well as cooked at the restaurant that we will build (along the new coastal highway), as well as sold commercially as a revenue source for the village.
It is the belief of us here at Family Care Foundation that the beneficiaries of the abovementioned projects simply need a "hand up" in order to stimulate their own local economy. Their former villages do not even exist anymore. The land where they used to live is all underwater. The ocean adjacent to this village is too shallow to support boats with the popular, more economical onboard diesel engines. There is no industry nearby where anyone can work. With a restaurant run in cooperation with the village, the whole village would profit. (This project alone would generate jobs for 15 families, in addition to employing locals to construct it.)
The vision is to set up a better quality restaurant for motorists traveling between Banda Aceh and Melaboh (main destination for mini-buses that travel the highway) as well as those traveling in NGO work etc. We would train locals in health, hygiene and etiquette with the goal of the restaurant becoming reputable not only for its good food but also for its cleanliness standards. The chosen restaurant location has gorgeous ocean views on the one side and a mountain view on the other, and will be right on the main coastal highway being constructed.
Among the reasons for concentrating all of our resources in one area is to create a model village plan providing forms of livelihood for the people. As touched on before, almost everywhere you go you see half-finished undertakings. Family Care Foundation wants to create a fully functioning refurbished zone, including livelihood undertakings (totally absent in all other localities) and with the goal of sustainability. It’s our opinion that one working sample that can be replicated is worth far more than scattered results.
To quote our Family Care Foundation partner in Banda Aceh, “Immediately after the tsunami emergency everyone gave from their hearts, which is what was needed at the time. But now is the time to give using our heads.”