Indonesians deal with economic devastation


BANDA ACEH, Indonesia - Herey Warmadi survived last month's tsunami by climbing to the roof of his motor parts shop. Now tears spring to his eyes at the memory of filthy water and muck filling the place where he earned his living for 42 years.

Asked how he will get by, he was at a loss to say. "I only count on the money in my pockets," he replied.

Beyond the horrific toll it took in human lives, the tsunami delivered a brutal economic blow to a region that was already one of Indonesia's poorest. Boats were smashed, stores filled with muck and fields turned to wasteland.

The United Nations estimates 500,000 jobs were lost in Aceh province, where damage was heaviest. More than 115,000 people were killed in Indonesia, most in Aceh, on Sumatra island's west coast, near the epicenter of the powerful undersea earthquake that caused the monstrous waves.

The Dec. 26 disaster left survivors with little hope of finding work. The vital fishing industry has been wiped out along much of the coast and in Banda Aceh, the provincial capital and the region's main center for trade, the vast majority of stores remain shuttered.


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