On December 26, 2004, the second largest earthquake ever recorded erupted off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, triggering a series of tsunamis that inundated coastal communities with waves up to 100 feet high. Less than 18 months later, Indonesians were jarred awake early in the morning on May 27, 2006, by an earthquake that struck the city of Yogyakarta on the island of Java.
The human cost of these dual blows was compounded exponentially by the massive damage done to buildings, infrastructure, the economy, communities, and the environment. Response from the global community was immediate and generous. CHF International was one of the first on the ground in Aceh, due to rapid funding from DLA Piper Rudnick. This positioned CHF to become a recipient of USAID's High Impact and Revitalization of the Economy of Aceh (HIRE) program.
The challenges of working effectively in a post-disaster setting, whether socially unstable like in Aceh or otherwise in Yogyakarta, were daunting and required fast, efficient action. Forging innovative partnerships with private sector actors, including AIG and Chevron, and with other NGOs such as the Red Cross and World Vision, CHF was able to carry out immediate relief activities.
But it is CHF International's belief that it is not enough to provide relief; every aspect of the relief mission must be carried forth with long-term development as the ultimate aim. Every time CHF produced shelters and housing, it was in agreement with the priorities of local communities, using local materials and labor to create homes, markets and infrastructure that communities would invest in and maintain. CHF worked to stimulate the private sector, creating employment in Indonesia and giving out loans to entrepreneurs to encourage a selfsufficient economy. And it worked closely in private-public partnerships, matching commercial interests to community needs.
Over half a century of experience has taught CHF International that working with the community and creating locally appropriate, selfsufficient solutions for the long-term is the only way to achieve lasting sustainable change. And as seasoned experts in construction, CHF is well aware that any building is only as strong as its foundation.