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Damaged roads keep aid from Aceh's regions


EFFORTS TO move aid and engineers to the west coast of Indonesia's Aceh province are still being hampered by tsunami damage to the area's roads.

Aceh, and its provincial capital Banda Aceh, bore the brunt of the tsunami's impact on 26 December.

Roads south of Banda Aceh to the largest settlement Meulaboh 175km away are impassable, limiting transport options to boat and helicopter.

Banda Aceh-based Halcrow irrigation specialist Nigel Landon had to hire a boat to get to schemes in the area.

His 55km journey from Lamsujen takes two hours by boat, and Meulaboh lies another 120km to the south.

'The road to Banda Aceh is within spitting distance of the coast and it's like that all along the west coast, so you can imagine what it was like when the tsunami hit, ' said Landon.

Bridges are down between Lhoknga on the outskirts of Banda Aceh and Meulaboh.

The US military has not installed temporary bridges along the west coast as little has been done to repair roads linking them together.

The poor condition of roads in the interior is hampering efforts to travel using inland routes.

United Nations Indonesian humanitarian co-ordinator Enayet Madari said: 'The link between Banda Aceh and Meulaboh is very difficult. We have access via Medan but that takes two days.

'The government is trying to open the road but it could take a few months.' He said the Indonesian army was also engaged in repair work along the route. IL

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