Indonesia: Major reconstruction work in Aceh set to begin soon

JAKARTA, Jul 6, 2005 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- A major reconstruction drive in Indonesia's tsunami-ravaged Aceh Province is expected to start in the coming weeks as both the government and international donors have agreed to disburse some 2.8 billion US dollars worth of assistance to finance rebuilding projects, according to a senior official.

Head of the special agency in charge of coordinating the rehabilitation and reconstruction work in Aceh and Nias, Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, was quoted by the Jakarta Post on Wednesday as saying that some 900 million US dollars would come from the state budget, while the remainder would be provided by international donors, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and foreign governments.

Kuntoro, however, said on Tuesday that some of the assistance would be handled by the foreign donors themselves.

"Some NGOs and foreign governments are responsible for the construction of their respective projects, including procurement, development and auditing. The most important thing is that the projects are implemented and are in accordance with our standards, " he said.

The government has previously been criticized for the slow start to the reconstruction work in Aceh, where some 128,000 people were killed by the giant Indian Ocean tsunami last December. Six months after the tsunami, much damaged infrastructure has yet to be rebuilt, while the survivors continue to live in temporary shelters.

Kuntoro said that the initial stage of the rebuilding work in Aceh would focus on the construction of a number of harbors, which would serve as the gateways for bringing in building materials from outside Aceh province.

Meanwhile, State Minister for National Development Planning Sri Mulyani Indrawati said that international donors had pledged to disburse between 6 billion and 8 billion US dollars for the reconstruction of Aceh.

"The realization of the pledges depends on the performance of the government and the implementation of good governance during the process," she said.