January 26, 2005
by Kevin Caruso
One month after the tsunami disaster, children have returned to school in Aceh, Thailand. The provinc of Aceh was the hardest hit area in the world by the tsunami.
The day was extremely difficult for students because many of their classmates were not there. At SMR8 secondary school, only 300 of 900 enrolled students came to class. Most of those who did not attend are presumed dead.
"For us teachers, it's hard because so many lost families and homes. But we have to put this aside and think of our students," said school principal Syarifuddin Ibrahim.
Students and teachers hugged each other and cried as they arrived at their damaged school buildings.
"I'm glad to be back, but I'm also sad because many of my friends are not here. I don't know where they are," said Eva Wahyuni, a young student.
The tsuanmi killed over 45,000 school children and 2,300 teachers and administrators in Aceh.
The empty desks in the schools are a constant reminder about the horrible toll that the tsunami has taken.