Nias: Kecamatan-Based Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Planning Project - Implementation Completion and Results Report

Evaluation and Lessons Learned
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  1. Project Context, Development Objectives and Design

1.1 Context at Appraisal

Damage in Nias. The earthquakes and tsunamis that had struck Indonesia and several other countries in the Indian Ocean region on December 26, 2004, resulted in one of the worst natural disasters - in terms of lives lost - in recorded human history. In Indonesia, the province of Aceh and the island of Nias (off the northwest coast of Sumatra) in the Province of North Sumatra bore the major brunt of the disaster and suffered the worst damage. To make matters worse, another earthquake struck Nias three months later on March 28, 2005, killed more than 700 people, leveled or badly damaged some 10,000 to 12,000 houses, and significantly changed the very physical layout of the island.

Damage in Nias was erratic and not as obvious as it was in Aceh. Earthquake damage affected a large number of villages, but only a fraction of buildings collapsed in each village. More houses were swept away on the west coast of Nias - the same area that had also been most affected by the tsunami - but even there significant numbers of buildings remained standing. Hence, while issues such as clarifying land titles were much less of a problem in Nias than in Aceh, the challenge of covering large numbers of partially affected villages in very remote and isolated areas was much greater.

Many village and kecamatan government offices had been damaged or collapsed during the earthquake. Rebuilding damaged village halls and offices, or building new ones where none had previously existed, were a high priority for rebuilding community fabric and cohesion in Nias. Also, in many villages, critical public infrastructure, i.e. mainly access roads and / or drains, was either damaged or inadequate; many of these infrastructure gaps were linked to housing and schools.