Sunday, September 30, 2007

on the tarmac at Simeulue

Nias Island

Nias airport

one of the schools on Nias

driving up the west coast near Calang

uninhabited island

flying over Simeulue Island

coastline of Simeulue

Pile foundation at school near Meulaboh

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Flight to Meulaboh for some site visits.

Friday, September 21, 2007

School designs in Aceh

Here are some architectural renderings of the schools currently under design and construction.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


A fishing catamaran sits on the mud flats at low tide north of Banda Aceh, just short of road's end, northern most point on Sumatra. Mt. Seulawah Agam is seen in the distance

Thursday, September 13, 2007

two massive earthquakes

There have been a chain of massive earthquakes just off the coast of western Sumatra for the past day or two. It even trigged a tsunami and warnings were issued all around the Indian Ocean. But it was later lifted.

Right now, I'm trying to determine if there is enough damage to warrant a visit to the damaged region.

  • Two earthquakes in same area, south-east of Padang, Sumatra
  • First earthquake at 1810 (1110 UTC) on Wednesday, magnitude 8.4
  • Second earthquake at 0649 on Thursday (2349 UTC on Wednesday), magnitude 7.8

From the BBC

Relief teams are assessing the damage on Indonesia's island of Sumatra which was hit by two massive earthquakes.

At least nine people are known to have been killed and some 40 injured in the undersea tremors and a series of aftershocks on Wednesday and Thursday.

Tsunami warnings were repeatedly issued and lifted, as many people ran inland fearing a repeat of the 2004 tsunami.

Many buildings collapsed and there were power cuts, but destruction was not as bad as initially feared, officials say.

Wednesday's magnitude-8.4 earthquake - the world's strongest so far this year - struck at 1810 (1110 GMT), about 30km (18 miles) under the sea, 130km (80 miles) south-west of the city of Bengkulu, the US Geological Survey said.

Later, a 7.8-magnitude quake struck about 185km (115 miles) south-east of the city of Padang.

Earthquakes viewed on Google Earth with USGS add-on.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

In Search of Virgin Rainforest

two weekends ago, a few of us went in search of virgin rainforest, guided by some ex-separatist combatants, GAM (Free Aceh Movement). a harder task than it seems with all the illegal logging or rainforest burning going on. on saturday it rained so hard all afternoon and night. The rain was so intense, the river started to flood within half an hour (something that normally happens in a desert, not a jungle with high soil/ground saturation).

by the way, Singapore and Malaysia are many times choked in rainforest fire smoke to unhealthy levels blowing over from Sumatra (or Borneo if the prevailing winds reverse). Aceh, and most of Sumatra, is home to the Sumatran tiger, orangutan and even rhino.

our friend who arranged this trip, is a freelance writer for a few publications back in the states. he was interested in the logging effects in the rainforest and the use of ex-combatants in other roles, like trekking guides (the ones that guided us, were their first time).

Hiking up river

The ex-separatist combatants, our guides

The illegal loggers leave their mark

Rest of the photos are posted on Flickr.

Monday, September 03, 2007

tropical rain storms

This was taken on an overnight hiking trip in the rainforest of Aceh's west coast this past weekend. It rained hard for at least 12 hours.

more photos to follow...