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Devastation in Indonesia: Habitat Team Assesses the Situation

January 17, 2005

BANDA ACEH: 17th January 2005:
“Unbelievable. Complete and total devastation as far as the eye can see,” said Jack Blanchette, Habitat for Humanity’s Asia-Pacific director of construction, appropriate technology and disaster response.

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He and Asia-Pacific vice president Steve Weir, and new country developer Vaughn Thomas were in the northern tip of Sumatra this weekend, at the point where the tsunami struck.

“You can turn 360 degrees and there is the odd concrete pole or part of a concrete building,” said Jack.

There is still a stench of bodies, boats piled up, and vehicles languishing after being rolled along for hundreds of meters.” There are little posts with red flags where people believe there is a body,” said Jack.

The team was in Bandar Aceh along with two staff members of HFH Indonesia trying to assess the situation. Unlike, say, in Thailand where there is a need for repairs as well as construction, the need is clear. New building.