- Forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan increased in frequency and intensity at the beginning of August. In the first two weeks of the month, over 4,000 fires were detected, covering an area of almost 5,000 square kilometers, with the Riau province being the worst affected area. This has resulted in severe haze affecting region including neighbouring countries Malaysia and Singapore. BAKORNAS (National coordinating board for disaster management) has established the 2005 Forest Fires Disaster Management Team to deal with the situation.
- The Aceh Monitoring Mission (AMM) headed by Peter Feith and comprised of EU and ASEAN monitors has arrived in Aceh. Initial bases have been established in Banda Aceh, Meulaboh, Lhoksemawe, and Biruen. The decommissioning of weapons is scheduled to begin on 15 September. On 31 August, more than 1,400 GAM prisoners and detainees were released under the amnesty stipulated in the MOU signed on 15 August.
- The WFP Award Ceremony for the Annual School Feeding Competition took place in Banda Aceh on 16 August. Fourteen children from ten schools in Lhokseumawe, Meulaboh, and Aceh Besar, including one School Feeding Competition winner from Lhokseumawe, received prizes and certificates. The "Friends of WFP" donated US$30,000 to the schools and the Education Department for improvement of learning environment.
- Andrew Harper, the new Head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Banda Aceh, assumed duty on 26 August. UN Recovery Coordinator for Aceh and Nias, Eric Morris, is expected to begin his duty on 2 September.
BRR (Recovery and Reconstruction Agency for Aceh & Nias) approved 11 concept notes at the forth round of the fast track workshop on 4 August (total US$43.1 million) and 54 at the fifth workshop on 18 August (total US$391 million). The approved projects cover, inter alia, transitional and permanent shelter, post-tsunami legal assistance, disability assistance and spatial planning. Since 7 June, over 400 concept notes have been approved through the fast track workshop approval process, valued at US$2.49 billion.
UPDATES ON ACEH & NIAS
Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Aceh & North Sumatra (MDTFANS)
MDTFANS fifth steering committee meeting met in Banda Aceh on 25 August. MDTFANS approved the grant requests by Leuser International Foundation and Fauna & Flora International (US$ 14.05 million) on the integration of the environment and forest protection in recovery and development, and by the UN Joint Logistics Centre (UNJLC) on the disaster response logistics (US$3 million) with respect to the lease of landing crafts to provide logistics to coastal areas.
Aceh Bankit 2005 will take place 9-18 September. The annual exhibition will focus this year on the pubic accountability and partnership building for recovery and reconstruction. The aid community has been invited to participate to allow the general public to learn more about their activities and accomplishments.
Road conditions throughout the district have been increasingly deteriorating due to rain, topographic change and the lack of repair and maintenance. PEMDA is appealing NGOs to assist in repair and maintenance. It plans to present the findings of its assessments at an extraordinary meeting next week, including locations of roads in dire need of repair and cost estimates. Bupati (district head) and PEMDA (local government) have resumed a fortnightly general coordination meeting.
Aceh Barat & Nagan Raya
BAPEDDA Aceh Barat (District development planning board) has initiated a coordination meeting with participation of key government offices, UN agencies and NGOs. A coordination mechanism has also started in several sub-districts attended by camat (sub-district leader), kepala desas (village leaders) and leaders of Temporary Living Centres (TLCs) and IDP camps as well as the aid community. The latter aims to identify the needs and gaps at the sub-district level and also feed the information to BEPEDDA for district level coordination. It is planned to roll out the mechanism to all affected sub-districts in Aceh Barat and Nagan Raya.
The first shelter sectoral working group for Nias, co-chaired by BRR and UNHCR, was held in Gunung Sitoli. Deteriorating water and sanitation conditions in several IDP camps requires immediate attention. The lack of government capacity in solid and water waste management in urban areas such as Gunung Sitoli and Teluk Dalam is also an increasing concern.
Humanitarian Action Forum (HAF) - District-level humanitarian assistance coordination mechanism
The Transitional Settlement Monitoring Mechanism (TSMM) teams deployed by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) are completing IDP (internally displaced persons) needs data collection in Nagan Raya and Aceh Barat. The first HAF for Aceh Barat is to be held during the second week of September in Meulaboh. The TSMM teams returned to Aceh Besar, Banda Aceh and Pidie to update the needs data and monitor commitments made at the first round of HAF meetings. The second HAF for Pidie will take place on 1 September in Jantho and at the beginning of September for other two districts.
The monitoring revealed that the major concern for IDPs is that various assessment teams visit them and promise assistance, which is often not followed through. This finding has been confirmed by the survey conducted by the Public Information and the Media Working Group (see "Focus"). While some HAF participants acted quickly on their commitments, others have not fulfilled them. HAF participants are urged to make commitments responsibly and ensure the implementation of these commitments.
In addition to monthly HAF meetings, TSMM instituted a mechanism to report urgent humanitarian needs as and when they are identified. OCHA then bilaterally engages organizations that are best placed to immediately respond to such needs, including WFP for food and IFRC for transitional shelter and non-food items, thus reducing response time.
IFRC is working out technical details for adopting the TSMM forms and database to be used for monitoring by IFRC, PMI and Red Cross national societies. This would significantly enhance the TSMM data collection coverage once becomes operational.
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)
The SATKORLAK (Provincial development body for disaster and IDP management) coordination meeting on 1 August discussed new definition of tsunami-affected IDPs in Aceh province for government assistance purposes. The provincial government now defines IDPs as registered persons who were affected by the disaster and live in temporary shelters. Temporary shelters include:
- Barracks/TLCs build by the government, NGOs and others;
- Temporary housing built by the owner of the site;
- Public facilities currently lived by IDPs (schools, offices, mosques, etc.); and
- Host families.
Those living with host families are considered as IDPs until 26 March, six months after the official end of the emergency period. The new definition would not preclude the aid community to continue providing assistance to the IDPs with host families beyond 26 March.
Dinas Social (Social Department), together with the BPDE (Central Electronic Data Board) and a NGO GARANSI, has been conducting IDP registrations for the more accurate data on the number IDPs and related factors. The first round of registration has been completed and the data is now being processed by BPDE. The preparation for the second registration is being planned. The second round data will enable the tracking of livelihoods, income, employment and other living standard indicators According to the latest government data, there are 73,934 IDPs and 9,243 houses destroyed in Nias district. The official IDP data for Nias Selatan is not yet available. A comprehensive IDP database and monitoring system needs to be set up in order to support SATLAK (District disaster & IDP unit) for Nias and Nias Selatan in identifying IDP needs and gaps. OCHA Nias Field Office is facilitating a consultation meeting with key partners (IOM, WFP, UNICEF, UNHCR, SATLAK, BRR, OXFAM, IFRC, and WVI) to establish a common framework and discuss ways forward.
(pdf* format - 659 KB)