Schools, houses of worship not yet rebuilt

Syofiardi Bachyul Jb, The Jakarta Post, Padang | Archipelago | Mon, April 13 2015, 7:10 AM

Twenty school buildings, 32 churches and other public facilities, including three mosques, four health centers and four subdistrict administration offices devastated by the 2010 tsunami on the Mentawai Islands, West Sumatra, have not yet been rebuilt.

Mentawai Islands Deputy Regent Rijel Samaloisa said the central government had not yet approved the proposed Rp 195.6 billion (US$15 million) budget for the reconstruction of education, health and religious facilities as well as economic activities for the displaced people in their new locations.

Rijel said the regency administration had proposed the budget at the end of last year but it had not yet been included in the 2015 state budget.

“We do expect the budget will be included in the amended state budget this year such that we can ease the suffering of the displaced people who have been living in a state of emergency for almost five years,” Rijel said over the weekend.

The reason why the central government had not yet approved the budget, according to Rijel, was because it was waiting for the completion of the development of 2,070 permanent houses for the affected people.

He said the development of the permanent houses was currently some 80 percent finished and was expected to be fully finished by this year. The regency administration prepared 7,000 hectares of land for developing the new houses.

“The way we see it, the development of the public facilities can actually be conducted simultaneously this year. We really hope the central government will accelerate [the disbursement],” Rijel said.

Because of the delay, he said, everyone was still praying in temporary churches and mosques.

“Some school-aged children can’t even go to school because there are no education facilities available,” Rijel said.

He said the schools, churches, health facilities and subdistrict halls could be developed in the relocation areas in the three districts of South Sipora, South Pagai and North Pagai. All locations are far from the ocean.

The regency administration plans to build seven kindergartens and eight elementary school buildings as well as provide new classrooms in three schools along with other educational facilities.

In the health sector, regency administrators plan to build a community health center (Puskesmas) in the new location in Trans Taikako and three subdistrict health posts (Poskesdes).

Other plans include the development of four subdistrict administration offices and a subdistrict hall in Silabu, Taikako, Bosua and Beriulo and the development of three diesel-fueled power plants in three districts.

“We also allocated funds for the development of a tsunami monument, worth Rp 825 million, in Muntei Baru Baru, where the tsunami claimed the most lives,” Rijel said.