Indonesia: FFI confirms Mamamia and IBS of Turkey use of illegal timbers

Jakarta, Indonesia-Relief -- Through an advertorial in Aceh Kita, Fauna and Flora International confirmed that illegal timbers had been used in construction of houses by Istanbul International Brotherhood and Solidarity Association (IBS), Mamamia (local NGO funded by Caritas Germany and Austria), and construction of boats by Medecins sans Frontieres.
''800 houses built by Turkey in Lamno, Aceh Jaya used illegal timbers,'' said Frank Momberg, the director for program development with FFI. Frank said he already talk with the IBS official, but they said they didn't care about it.

In Aceh Besar, Momberg found Yayasan Masyarakat Makmur Mitra Adil (Mamamia) has used illegal timbers to build 800 houses. ''The 800 houses in Lhoong is using illegal timbers,'' he said, added that the construction needs 2,500 cubic meters of timbers.

After several dialog with Mamamia official, Momberg said, ''they agreed to stop buying illegal timbers.''

MSF or Doctor Without Borders, he said, has used illegal timbers in the name of restoring fishermen economic activities. ''The boat use illegal timbers,'' Momberg said.

Medesins sans Frontieres, field coordinator Philippe Aruna, in interview with Washington Post in May, already admitted that boats they intend to donate to Aceh tsunami survivors in Lamno, Aceh Jaya, has been built using illegal logs. Currently MSF has almost finished building 140 fishing boats.

Sabine Rens, head of MSF Belgium Mission in Indonesia, told Indonesia Relief that the use of the timbers have been acknowledged by local leaders and government official in Lamno.

According to Momberg, FFI hired a lot of 'illegal logging boss' to become their spy. ''Not just a usual bosses, but people who already committed to stop their old bad habit. Some of them are local leaders,'' said Momberg.

How about imported timbers? ''If it's for free, why should we reject?'' said Momberg. He also asked Acehnese to reject NGOs that want to build houses or other reconstruction project using illegal timbers. ''They should asked the NGOs to build good houses.''

Frank believes Indonesia have more than enough timbers to rebuild Aceh. ''Timbers requirement for Aceh reconstruction is only 3 percent of Indonesian timber exports. It would be better if Indonesia channeled those 3 percent to Aceh,'' he said.

Aceh governor estimated that between 800,000 and 1 million cubic meters of timber is needed for Aceh reconstruction projects. Aceh forests could only supply legal timbers about 50,000 cubic meters. © sam