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Indonesia defends restrictions in Aceh BANDA ACEH - Indonesia said on Thursday restrictions on aid workers in Aceh were for their own safety in a province troubled by a decades-old insurgency, and voiced readiness to sit down with the rebels to seek a cease-fire. As aid agencies and Indonesian government officials put the limitations into effect, palpable signs emerged that the devastated region was beginning to pull itself together after the Dec. 26 earthquake and tsunami.
In a grim sign of progress, Aceh Vice Governor Azwar Abubakar said that by Thursday relief workers had buried 75,500 bodies from the disaster. More markets opened in the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, where excavators cleared debris and rubble and more bodies from the streets. But public transport was scarce, making it difficult for people to begin rebuilding their lives.
Fishermen in the Sri Lankan coastal town of Beruwela cast their nets for the first time since the tsunami, saying they had previously been too afraid to go down to the sea shore. In Banda Aceh, officials said about 80 foreigners working for aid groups and media companies had already sought the official approval needed to work beyond the provincial capital and the other main city, Meulaboh.
"If someone is shot from a United Nations agency, the whole United Nations agency will withdraw," chief social welfare minister and Aceh chief administrator Alwi Shihab told reporters. "Who will be responsible if a foreigner is kidnapped? The responsible party is us." Asked if the restrictions would hamper the aid effort as the United Nations feared, Information Minister Sofyan Djalil said: "I don't think so."
Djalil said these were security measures and should not be regarded "from a political point of view." "It's related to the fact that the situation on the ground is not normal," Djalil told Reuters. "We're simply trying to give a maximum protection for the workers, and for that they need restrictions." Jakarta has long been edgy about a foreign presence in Aceh, where separatists have fought the army for three decades for a homeland on Sumatra island's northern tip.
The disaster has raised the possibility of reconciliation between the government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM).



Posted in Earthquake @ 14 January 2005 00:02 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

indahnesia.com lists all earthquakes that occur in Indonesia. For your convenience we display them in a list and a Google Map. It is as accurate and recent as you can imagine as we check for updates every few minutes. If an earthquake occurs in Indonesia, this is the place to check it out in the first place.






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