Down to Earth reading about Aceh
Yesterday marked 100 days since the Aceh Tsunami
The following excerpts are from the Down to Earth March Newsletter
of 24 pages (.pdf)
. I admit a bias in my selections but the majority of the articles are well-researched, with sources.Indonesia owes around US$1.76 billion to the British government. While it is true that this represents just a small fraction of the overall debt of US$132 billion, it is still a significant sum, far outstripping, for example, the $96 million that the UK government has pledged to the tsunami aid effort.
On the international stage, Britain is keen to promote its commitment to tackling poverty. In the CGI creditor group, Britain co-chairs a working group on poverty reduction. Yet, by maintaining an unjust debt relationship with Indonesia, which includes inflated prices for arms, Britain remains part of the poverty problem.
The conservationists are ... talking about mangrove replanting to prevent damage from tsunamis in future (and) the plans to set up a people-free buffer zone along the coast. The whole of Indonesia is an earthquake zone, but tsunamis only happen about once every 100-200 years. There's little point putting up barriers around the north-west coast, when the next quake could be centred around Padang or Bengkulu. (Except it was Nias and Simeulue.) It all sounds like a scheme to keep the 'little people' out and let big business in. All that empty land is ideal for large-scale shrimp cultivation and big oil palm plantations.
Yesterday, 'Er Indoors finally heard from her family in Medan which experienced the March 28th earthquake. Vast numbers apparently camped out on the toll road. When they ventured home the next morning, they found that their houses had been looted.
Another unforeseen effect of the recent events is that many residents of West Sumatra are uprooting and moving to Java. "It's better to struggle to live than to die" is the reasoning.