• 1 Universiti Teknologi MARA


On December 26, 2004, an earthquake triggered a devastating tsunami that caused death and destruction in twelve countries including India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Seychelles, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Thailand. One of the authors was a volunteer with FELDA WAJA AMAN MALAYSIA medical relief team that served the Aceh victims from 16th February to 24th February 2005 (8 weeks post tsunami). A study to determine the pattern of health ailments was conducted among children aged 18 years and below based at Seuneubok Camp, 30 km from Banda Aceh. All respondents were from Pulau Aceh and the total number of children seen and examined was 60. About 18% had lost their fathers, 10 % had lost their mothers and 27% had lost one or more of their siblings. 77% suffered some form of health ailments. The common health ailments were diarrhea (61%), respiratory complaints (59%) and fever (20%). About 38 % of preschoolers had loss of appetite and 28% had sleep disturbances. About 35% of the elementary school children suffered from sleep disturbances, 29% of the young adolescents suffered from headaches and 24% had sleep disturbances. Nearly a quarter (24%) of all the children felt fearful and anxious about the disaster. Nevertheless, 56% of the respondents wanted to return back to Pulau Aceh, although 14 % did not want to go back. Interestingly, 73% of the children voiced their gratitude to God for having been saved from death.