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In the Tsunami's Wake, Debate over Rebuilding

It has been more than seven weeks since the powerful Asian tsunami. More than 100,000 people were killed in Indonesia alone. Many more are homeless. As aid efforts continue, a plan to prohibit rebuilding close to the ocean is being disputed.

The village of Peuken Bada is recovering from the tsunami's devastation in fits and starts. It's a mixed picture, much like the rest of Aceh province, on the northern end of the island of Sumatra, where an estimated 400,000 people have been left homeless.

While most displaced people are eager to go back to the sites of their homes, the government has other plans. Most of the displaced are likely to end up in the new "transitional housing" -- plywood barracks -- until a new plan is settled on.

As of now, the draft plan calls for creating a "green zone" that would prohibit people from building within 2 kilometers of the water. Many residents oppose the plan, and some are already erecting crude structures on their plots.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Michael Sullivan is NPR's Senior Asia Correspondent. He moved to Hanoi to open NPR's Southeast Asia Bureau in 2003. Before that, he spent six years as NPR's South Asia correspondent based in but seldom seen in New Delhi.