A few minutes after the catastrophic Indian Ocean earthquake of Dec. 26, 2004, two massive explosions tore through Lampuuk, a small seaside village in the Indonesian province of Aceh.
“I thought they must be crazy,” says Lampuuk resident Sofyan. “The guerrillas and the military are bombing each other — even at a time like this?”
It wasn’t as though you could blame him. Acehnese separatists had been battling the Indonesian army for almost three decades. (For much of the 20th century, they had been fighting the Dutch.) This time, though, the noise didn’t come from artillery. It came from a 20-m-high tsunami wave crashing into the beach — and as the deluge devoured the province, it brought more devastation than all of its previous conflicts combined. At least 130,000 Acehnese perished, and 1 in every 9 lost their homes, in what became known as the Asian tsunami.
But the destruction…
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