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South Asia: Tsunami reconstruction update 20 Jul 2005

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INDONESIA

U. S. and Indonesia sign agreement for US$400 million for relief and reconstruction

U. S. and Indonesia sign agreement for US$400 million for relief and reconstruction The governments of the U.S. and Indonesia signed an Agreement committing a total of US$400 million in tsunami relief and reconstruction aid to support immediate and long-term recovery in Indonesia.

In a ceremony at the Presidential Palace on July 7, 2005, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and U.S. Ambassador B. Lynn Pascoe highlighted the strong partnership between Indonesia and the United States.

The programs supported under this agreement include: reconstruction of the 240 kilometer Banda Aceh to Meulaboh road; shelter; credit and grants to rebuild local infrastructure; activities to help restore communities and drive economic rejuvenation; teacher training and vocational education; and technical support aimed at critical local government services and local capabilities.

Since December 2004, the U.S. government has provided $68.1 million in emergency food, supplies, shelter, water and sanitation, health, and other support for affected communities in Aceh and North Sumatra. Private contributions toward the relief effort are estimated at well over one billion US dollars.

First sixty students begin vocational training under $10 million USAID and Chevron alliance in Indonesia

USAID and Chevron identified 60 students to participate in vocational training at Chevron's Riau facility. Students will study electrical installation and small-scale infrastructure/civil engineering ("juru bangunan sipil") in a three-month training program that began on July 16. This is the first training under the $10 million alliance between USAID and Chevron. Over the next few months, an additional 300 students will be trained on skills critical to the reconstruction process. These skills will help ensure Acehnese participation in the reconstruction process.

SRI LANKA

USAID re-trains unemployed graduates for IT work in post-tsunami economy

Tsunami-affected university graduates are among those for whom USAID developed a 5-month "conversion" program to teach unemployed graduates information technology, an industry with plenty of opportunity according to a recent survey. Sri Lanka has long had thousands more graduates in fields such as civil service and accounting than jobs to employ them, a problem exacerbated by the tsunami's disruption of the economy. Administered in collaboration with the University of Moratuwa, the program is designed to convert motivated yet unemployed graduates into IT-savvy individuals with the blend of technical competence, "soft" skills and IT work experience that will make them strong candidates for employment in the IT sector. The program started with 25 students and includes scholarships for needy students. The private sector has shown a keen interest in this program by helping design the program's curriculum. Representatives of several prominent IT firms participated in interview panels to select students, and business mentors will orient students to career opportunities.

THAILAND

Reseeding mangrove forests improves environment and livelihoods

Mangrove forests along the coastlines of Thailand were seriously affected by the tsunami. Silt deposited by the waves clogged the pores of the aerial roots, suffocating the mangrove trees and destroying the coastal ecosystems.

By replanting mangroves in coastal areas, USAID is helping communities add natural barriers against coastal hazards and increasing economic activities. Mangrove forests provide nutrient-rich environments ideal for cultivating crabs to supplement fisher-family incomes, as well as thatch for roofs and fuel for cooking. To rehabilitate mangrove forests, USAID trained 25 villagers to harvest mangrove seedlings, prepare growth material and establish new plants. Also, through a USAID cash-for-work initiative, over 100 villagers (mostly female) were employed to seed, plant and care for 40,000 mangrove seedlings.

INDIA

Clean up act builds good will

Infrastructure improvements in temporary settlements On July 12, USAID provided an additional $4.2 million to three NGOs working along the southern coast of India. These NGOs will remain engaged with affected families in more than 60 temporary settlements. Working with the affected families, often through cash-for-work programs, these NGOs will carry out shelter and community improvements in anticipation of the heavy rains expected in October. Improvements will include setting up systems for water purification and treatment, organizing solid waste management programs, repairing walls and roofs of individual units, and providing drainage in and around the shelters. The NGOs will also continue to provide water and sanitation support, and hygiene education. Shelter improvement activities will benefit more than 10,000 families.

FAST FACTS: U.S. ASSISTANCE AS OF JULY 20, 2005

Total USG Humanitarian and Recovery Assistance Pledged 12/31/05: $350,000,000
Tsunami Recovery and Reconstruction Fund (Approved 5/10/05): $656,000,000
Total USAID Humanitarian Assistance Committed: $101,550,957
Total USAID Rehabilitation/Reconstruction Assistance Committed: $350,622,969
Other USG Humanitarian Assistance Provided (DoD, DoS, USDA): $237,900,000

For more information on the tsunami and USAID's work, please see "Tsunami Relief" at www.usaid.gov.