Yuri always rises at dawn and heads to the beach to check out the surfing conditions. He had felt the earthquake, but that was common on the island of Sumatra being so close to the ‘ring of fire’. But what he saw that Boxing Day, 2004 will forever haunt him; the narrow beach was now a huge expanse of sand reaching far out into the bay and the immense wall of water he could see in the distance made him rush home to raise the alarm. Nina was also up early and saw an island in the bay she never knew was there. Fleeing on foot, on scooters and motorbikes some 400 people ( population: 7500) from the village of Lhok Nga reached higher ground where they watched a 35m wave flatten their homes and change their lives forever. The height of the waves varied widely along the coast, but whatever the height, the power of a wall of water is one of the most destructive forces on earth.
There are so many stories and sorrows from this early morning disaster and yet, 7 years later, trees and vegetation thrive, traditional homes have been rebuilt, businesses are opening, major infrastructure projects have been completed and the tourists are coming back. There are very few elders in the villages and almost all the children are under 6 years old.
And, just yesterday, we heard the great news that a young 15 year old girl, swept away in the 2004 tsunami, had wandered back to her village and was reunited with her family…….