Indonesia: MAA Aceh assessment update

A delegation of six from Muslim Aid UK, Muslim Aid Australia, Muslim Aid Asia, Yayasan Amal Malaysia and Global Peace spent six days in Aceh visiting centres of devastation from Bandar Aceh to Meulaboh; meeting Government agencies; relief agencies involved in habitat and livelihood recovery; United Nations agencies; Indonesian and international NGO's. For nearly five months the victims have been in temporary shelters. While visiting them in the camps one comes away with the clear impression that they want to return to their former places to rebuild their lives and mourn in their surroundings the dear ones taken by the tsunami.

For the rehabilitation to begin the victims need houses and a source of income. Muslim Aid's delegation looked at various options regarding the provision of housing. Ruling out any provision of temporary shelters, they consulted the local people as to their housing needs so as to avoid the mistake of providing homes that is not in keeping with the culture of the community.

Most of the victims of tsunami were fishermen whose homes were washed away. To build the homes Muslim Aid will partner with Panglima Laot a traditional fishing, non-political agency that unites the entire fishing community in Aceh and has been in existence for 400 years. Panglima Laut has its own court of arbitration, which settles any dispute, which may arise among the various fishing communities. It is an agency recognised by the Indonesian Government as mentioned in the local provincial constitution Article No 11 which states: "The Government is to acknowledge and protect the role of Panglima Laut to protect the local fishing community."