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Aceh Marks Anniversary of Tsunami With Education

BY NURDIN HASAN

Banda Aceh, TAG – More than a thousand children took part in a disaster preparedness drill during the weekend as part of commemorations of the massive tsunami that killed more than 160,000 people in Aceh seven years ago. 



Mawardy Nurdin, the mayor of Banda Aceh, kicked off the awareness campaign, which is called “Schools Ready for Disaster Festival,” at the Tsunami and Disaster Mitigation Research Center in Meuraxa subdistrict on Saturday. 

“Everyone who works in the field of disaster mitigation is duty-bound to help strengthen the capacity of schools in disaster-prone areas to respond to disasters,” he said at the event. 
“Most schools here don’t include disaster risk reduction in their curricula, which means even the teachers are often not prepared to deal with the issue.” 
Mawardy said it was important to drill those lessons into children from a young age so that they would know what to do in the event of another tsunami or earthquake. 
The preparedness campaign, which ran on Saturday and Sunday, saw school children of all ages in Banda Aceh and neighboring Aceh Besar district take part in drawing competitions, evacuation route planning and a first aid class. 
They also took in a photo exhibition and viewed a series of short films designed to teach disaster preparedness, and they learned songs meant to provide them with clear instructions on what to do should a disaster strike. 
In addition to the approximately 1,000 students, the campaign participants also included 600 residents and officials from Meuraxa in Banda Aceh and Peukan Bada in Aceh Besar district. 
The two subdistricts were hit hardest by the tsunami that struck Aceh on Dec. 26, 2004. A magnitude 9.3 quake to the west of Sumatra triggered the massive wall of water that wiped out entire towns along the coast of Aceh, killing 164,000 people in the province alone. Worldwide, the tsunami killed an estimated 230,000 people in 12 Indian Ocean nations from Thailand to Sri Lanka. 
Mukhlis Hamid, the coordinator of the school festival, said the TDMRC was also working with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), Unesco, the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) and local education agencies to introduce disaster preparedness modules for schools in Meuraxa and Peukan Bada. 
Mukhlis said that since the campaign began in 2009, 28 schools had adopted the modules, which he stressed were aimed at educating the teachers and school officials as much as the students. 
“Seven years since the tsunami, a lot of schools have been rebuilt in some of the most vulnerable areas and awareness of risk reduction remains low,” Mukhlis said. 
“That’s why we need to accelerate this program and ensure that all schools adopt the disaster preparedness modules in their curricula.” 
He also said the TDMRC was working with Banda Aceh’s Syiah Kuala University on a separate awareness campaign that was also aimed at schoolchildren.[]

Aceh Marks Anniversary of Tsunami With Education Aceh Marks Anniversary of Tsunami With Education Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on December 25, 2011 Rating: 5

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