Ronaldo returns to Aceh
Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo is back in Indonesia, this time to support mangrove conservation in Bali, having visited Aceh seven years ago to support tsunami victims.
"I am privileged to be able to play a role in conserving mangroves in Indonesia. I was in Aceh after the 2004 tsunami and the devastation I saw left a deep impression. I understand that in places where there were mangroves to provide a natural buffer against high waves, more lives were saved and less damage sustained," Ronaldo said.
On Wednesday morning, Ronaldo joined mangrove planting with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at Telaga Waja, Benoa Bay. Telaga Waja is part of the 1,373-hectare Ngurah Rai people's forest park, the largest mangrove forest in Bali and an area that suffers from severe pollution, deforestation and littering.
Ronaldo's visit to Bali was also an opportunity for a reunion with Martunis, now 15 years old, who survived the Aceh tsunami having been dragged out to sea and then washed into a mangrove swamp. Martunis was rescued 19 days later and reunited with his father and grandfather. Wearing a Portuguese soccer jersey when the incident happened, he attracted the attention of European media, and Ronaldo was moved to visit him.
"It's great to see [Martunis] again. He looks the same after seven years. I wish the best for him."