North Sumatra, Bukit Lawang
Bukit Lawang is a small tourist village at the bank of Bahorok River in North Sumatra province of Indonesia. Situated approximately 86 km north-west of Medan, Bukit Lawang is known for the largest animal sanctuary of Sumatran orangutan (around 5,000 orangutans occupy the area), and also the main access point to the Gunung Leuser National Park from the east side.
Bukit Lawang rehabilitation center for orangutans was founded in 1973. The main purpose is to preserve the decreasing number of orangutan population due to hunting, trading and deforestation.
A flash flood hit Bukit Lawang on 2 November 2003. The disaster destroyed the local tourist resorts and had a devastating impact to the local tourism industry in the area. Around 400 houses, 3 mosques, 8 bridges, 280 kiosks and food stalls, 35 hotels and guest houses were destroyed by the flood, including 239 people (5 of them were tourists) were killed and around 1,400 locals lost their homes. Local authorities and an environmental NGO attributed it to illegal logging. Thanks to several international cooperation agencies, the site was rebuilt and re-opened again in July 2004.