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Jakarta Post

Disaster management cooperation for ASEAN-Korea

  • Soohong Lee

    Secretary, Mission of the Republic of Korea to ASEAN

Jakarta   /   Thu, November 21 2019   /  01:24 am

I had a chance to attend the meeting on international disaster relief cooperation in Aceh in 2008. A tsunami swept the province at the northwestern tip of the Indonesian archipelago in December 2004, claiming about 170,000 lives.At the meeting, then-Aceh governor Irwandi Yusuf expressed his appreciation to the international community for lending their hands to the province’s recovery. A former leader of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) separatist group, Irwandi said it was the tsunami that put an end to the long-standing conflict between the rebels and the Indonesian government. I still remember the sadness in the governor’s eyes as he recalled how the disaster caused indescribable tragedy while paradoxically, it also brought peace back to Aceh.More than 10 years later in January 2019, I had another chance to visit Indonesia, but this time to live here. I was seconded to the Mission of t...