Indonesia: UNDP to Rehabilitate Ulee Lheu Port

Banda Aceh, June 21st - Ulee Lheu, Banda Aceh's main port, is to be restored to working order by November 2005 under a new US$2 million UNDP programme, the first of several port rehabilitation projects planned by UNDP for the province of Aceh.

The port at Ulee Lheu, which was the main ferry terminal for the province before the tsunami, was rendered inoperable by the tsunami of December 26th. It is currently inaccessible by land as all roads nearby were washed away, and also to large boats as huge boulders, some weighing up to five tonnes, were dumped in the harbour. Extensive surveying by UNDP port expert Gerry Byrne, though, indicated that despite the damage, much of the infrastructure of the port was sound. By rebuilding the road to allow passenger access, dredging the port to remove the underwater obstacles and repairing the quay, it is possible to make the port functioning again.

UNDP's plans, which were developed in partnership with Dinas Perhubungan Daerah (Provincial Transportation Authority), have now been approved by BRR, and funding is being provided by the Australian Government. Construction of the road to the port - which will use crushed rubble provided by UNDP's Tsunami Waste Recycling Project - is due to begin shortly. "This port is a vital facility for the city of Banda Aceh, and its rehabilitation is an important part of the recovery process," said Simon Field, Team Leader for UNDP Aceh. "Under this project, we plan to have it back in working order by November."

On behalf of UNDP, Mr Byrne has also surveyed every major port on the west coast and on Simeulue, and provided plans and budgets for their rehabilitation and reconstruction. According to his assessment, Calang and Sabang will become the key ports of the future, with Sabang handling international sea traffic and Calang becoming a vital centre for commercial shipping and fishing on the west coast. Simeulue has also been identified as a priority for this work, as the port was completely destroyed by the combination of the tsunami and the earthquake of March 28th. Because of the island's isolation, the port is considered vital for the recovery and future development of the entire island. UNDP is currently developing a project to rebuild this port completely.

Site visits and interviews with Gerry Byrne can be arranged on request.

For further information, please contact :

Imogen Wall, +62 (0)811 806 821 in Banda Aceh
Mieke Kooistra, +62 (0)21 314 0081 in Jakarta

Notes for Editors:

The port at Ulee Lheu is primarily a passenger terminal, although it can also handle some commercial work. The main commercial port for the city is at Malahayati this port was also badly damaged and is being rehabilitated under a project funded by the Dutch government. The Ulee Lheu port was the terminal for ferry services to Sabang and elsewhere along the Sumatran coast. It was serviced by a number of roll-on, roll-off ferries which survived the tsunami.