Indonesia: Allianz to complete construction of Martunis school in September

Jakarta, Indonesia-Relief -- Since early May, German insurance company, Allianz Group, has started construction of Martunis school in Tibang village, subdistrict of Syiahkuala, Banda Aceh. The Cristiano Ronaldo's fan school had been completely destroyed by last December tsunami, and left only 60 out of its 200 students.

The Allianz Group, through its Allianz Direct Help foundation, Allianz Life Indonesia, and in cooperation with German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ), will build a new school building that have two levels and earthquake-resistance. Should there be another tsunami, the new primary school in Tibang can protect 900 people from approaching floodwaters.

The entire project, which costs 210,000 euros, is being financed by donations from Allianz employees in Germany. The project officially starts on May 1, 2005, and after its completion in September 2005, Allianz, the GTZ and the local school authorities will promote the school as a model of how risks can be minimized with building projects in areas susceptible to earthquakes and tsunamis.

The people of Tibang, according to Allianz release, wholeheartedly support the project. After all, on the day of the disaster, the only two-story house in Tibang saved 50 lives. These people were able to take refuge on the top floor.

Plans are also underway to start a sponsorship program that will enable Allianz employees to provide long-term support to the schoolchildren of Tibang, once their school has been completed.

Hanns Polak, GTZ Project Manager in Aceh said, ''I'm really pleased that the donations from Allianz employees have enabled us to accomplish this project. Allianz has proved to be an extremely active and productive project partner whose ideas are helping us to establish better protection against future disasters.''

The Allianz Direct Help foundation is responsible for ensuring that these donations are used effectively and for their intended purpose. The foundation, which was established in 2001 after the devastating earthquake in Turkey, has so far provided help following September 11, 2001 and the severe flooding in Central Europe in 2002.

Since December, Allianz employees worldwide have donated 1.2 million euros to help the tsunami flood victims. Allianz Group headquarters and several Allianz companies have also donated to the cause, increasing total donations to 2.9 million euros.

CEO Michael Diekmann has praised Allianz's employees' willingness to help: To me, social responsibility is not simply an empty word; it is an inherent part of a modern company's philosophy - a concrete management responsibility that I hold close to my heart. That is why I am proud that our employees, on their own volition, donated one million euros for the victims of the Asian tsunami.''

This is all in keeping with Allianz Direct Help's three-step plan to provide relief, reconstruction, and sustainable improvement to affected regions. The plan, which was finalized just days after the disaster, has included not only immediate action to deliver emergency relief to victims, but also projects which are helping children and young people to reconstruct their lives in the medium term. Finally, the foundation will work to introduce sustainable measures to reduce future risks over the long-term. © wan