Indonesian Red Cross guide Ahmose Ibrahim helped Australian water engineer Don Atkinson by seeking out the chief of each village visited, to go though an extensive questionnaire process. Like what were their existing water sources? Did they have wells and rainwater harvesting tanks? How did they disinfect the water? What sort of sanitation improvements would they willingly adopt?
And there were questions to help in building: What were the normally recognised forms of construction? Could we use corrugated iron to replace traditional reed roofing to facilitate rainwater harvesting?
Apart from the work being planned on Simeulue Island, Australian Red Cross is already at work in nearby Nias Island, building nine bridges, two schools, three clean water supply systems and a first aid centre.
Altogether, Australian Red Cross has a hand in 30 tsunami rebuilding projects Across the Indian Ocean, funded by tens of millions of dollars donated by the Australian community. In Aceh, the larger International Red Cross is building 22,000 houses as well as schools and hospitals.=A9 alan