Self Reflection from 16 Years of Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster in Aceh


written by Nanda Rahmad



The Tsunami tragedy that devastated Aceh in 2004 left deep wounds for most of the community. Even though it has been fifteen years, the disaster which is said to be one of the most devastating natural disasters in history still leaves sadness without exception for Bindiyah Binti Sahan or commonly called Wak Kolak, one of the residents of Lampulo village who survived the devastating disaster. When visited by the editorial team of the Peace Volunteer Centre (3R) bulletin in the tourist area of ​​the ship on the roof of the village house in Lampulo, the 75-year-old woman did not hesitate to share the sad story that almost took her life.

She said that when the earthquake occurred, she was at the port of Lampulo, precisely where Wak Kolak was selling daily. The earthquake was so big and long enough that it made her though that the end was happening and the earth felt like it would be destroyed. After the earthquake, which she said occurred for about 8 minutes, stopped, she walked home. Before long, she heard the sound of two explosions coming from the direction of the sea and heard nature as if it were silent. Then, she returned to the port area intending to take her wares. When she was at the port, Wak Kolak saw the sea water receding. After a few minutes, she saw that there were two very large waves rolling from the direction of the sea and black like mud slowly heading towards him. At that moment she heard people running away shouting “the sea is rising! The sea is rising! “




Wak Kolak herself could only froze. She did not have time to think about anything but felt her end was near. When reminiscing about this incident, she felt the picture of the end that was told in the Qur’an was happening. Everyone didn’t have time to think about anyone anymore. Including Wak Kolak itself. She no longer though of her family or anyone around her. She only remembered Allah in her heart and felt death so close to her. She could not run and he could not swim, so she gave up. She placed her hand on her chest while glorifying the creed as if he was preparing to take death. Suddenly, she felt like someone was asking him to run, but the voice was intangible. Even that voice seemed to lead him to run to a two-story house owned by a teacher named Ibu Abasiyah. She and several people including the owner of the house who also climbed to the second floor of the house were saved until they were finally shocked by a loud crash which turned out to be a fishing boat that crashed into his house. It is this ship that until now is known as the tourist attraction of ships on the roof. Thinking it was a ship that would help them, finally those 59 people got on the ship until they found no one was on the ship. On this ship, they survived until the water receded and help arrived.

Overall, the recorded number of dead / missing victims was 982 out of all the victims who died / disappeared in Lampulo village, which numbered approximately 4500 people. After this terrifying incident had passed for 16 years, over time the village of Lampulo managed to heal its wounds and improve itself to become a village that is better than before, both in terms of the community’s economy and their way of thinking. Even though the wounds after the tsunami were not 100% erased from their memories, they also felt many lessons after the tsunami. Among the things mentioned by Wak Kolak were the implementation of Islamic law, the creation of peace between RI-GAM which had an impact on the peaceful life of the Acehnese people and the development of the City of Banda Aceh.

Hopefully, the story of Wak Kolak and Mak Nong will be a reflection of the tsunami disaster 16 years ago. The disaster that occurred was understood as a reminder to continue to increase gratitude to the Creator and to make calamities as reflection to further increase worship, faith and piety to Allah SWT. The reflection of the tsunami incident is of course also an important part of not forgetting the history of this country, especially for the current generation who are starting to ignore it.





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