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South/Southeast Asia and East Africa: Earthquake and Tsunamis - Fact Sheet No. 24

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Situation Report
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While construction work is being undertaken in other tsunami-affected countries where the Red Cross and Red Crescent is responding to community needs the focus of this fact sheet is on large-scale housing reconstruction projects in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

Reconstruction

Eighteen months after the earthquake and tsunami took tens of thousands of lives across the Indian Ocean and beyond to the shores of Africa, causing destruction along the shorelines in its path, the reconstruction programme in the three most-affected countries of Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Maldives is well underway.

In Indonesia, of the 21,882 houses planned nearly 2,400 are in construction or are completed. Although many tsunami-affected people remain in transitional shelters, the quality of these has improved greatly; many others have moved into new homes. Red Cross Red Crescent Movement reconstruction activities ongoing in Aceh and Nias provides only a snapshot of a broad range of projects underway to help the host national society contribute to the re-building of lives, homes and communities across the tsunami and earthquake-damaged areas of Aceh and Nias. Detailed reports on reconstruction progress can be found in the last Operations Updates no. 59 published in the tsunami section on www.ifrc.org.

The tsunami had a massive impact on Sri Lanka's infrastructure destroying and damaging water and sanitation facilities, roads, railways, and thousands of homes along two thirds of the coastline. The Government of Sri Lanka Reconstruction and Development Agency (RADA) figures show that 70,637 houses were completely destroyed and a further 30,839 were partially damaged, requiring therefore the complete reconstruction and repair of some 101,476 houses. In total, the Red Cross Red Crescent is managing construction of over 2,350 homes and 190 have been completed so far.

In the Maldives, the logistical difficulty of transporting building materials and construction equipment by boat over hundreds of kilometres of ocean has been immenseas has the challenge of finding sufficient labour to work on construction sites. Even so progress continues apace and, of the 784 houses plannedin the island nation, 49 have been completed while another 61 are under construction.

An integrated approach to reconstruction in Indonesia

The reconstruction programme in Aceh Province and on Nias Island is now well underway. Partner national societies (PNS) present in Indonesia to support the Indonesian Red Cross (Palang Merah Indonesia/PMI) are working in a coordinated International Movement framework to build 21,882 houses across Aceh and Nias, of which 2,359 are completed or in construction to date. Land title verification, settlement planning, community consultations and housing design are actively underway for the total remaining target number of homes to be built.

The physical and procedural barriers that have been causing long delays are gradually being overcome. Geotechnical surveys are determining where houses can safely be constructed after the earthquake altered the face of the devastated coastlines. The government's Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency, BRR, is lending its support to the resolution of difficult and arduous land claims issues after ownership titles were washed away on that calamitous day.

Where the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement has committed to reconstruction projects, beneficiary communities are now intensively involved in the decisions on settlement planning, disaster risk reduction and the selection of individual homes from the range of housing models designed in consultation with prospective new homeowners.

Within the broader range of recovery projects underway within the Movement framework, 14 national societies have committed funds and personnel to the reconstruction of damaged and destroyed communities. While the majority of that effort is focused on housing, the holistic approach agreed at the outset is being well realized.

The many examples of this integrated approach include the American Red Cross provision of water and sanitation technical and material resources to ensure that identified villages being re-built by PNS can prosper in a hygienic environment. Another highlight: the expertise in livelihoods programming and land title verification engendered by the British Red Cross is complementing the Australian Red Cross housing project on Pulau Aceh, the island just offshore the city of Banda Aceh.

The Movement's reconstruction projects are not just limited to building houses. Across the tsunami-affected area of Aceh and on earthquake-damaged Nias Island, PNS are erecting other structures that help to re-create not just homes, but communities. The French Red Cross is building schools in Pidie district and on Nias, and rehabilitating five traditional market areas on Nias. The German Red Cross: schools in Aceh Jaya, Aceh Besar, Banda Aceh and on the island of Pulau Weh. The Hong Kong branch of the Red Cross Society of China: elementary and high schools in Aceh Utara, and 27 health facilities in that district to be completed this month. Swiss Red Cross: an orphanage and boarding school in Banda Aceh and a high school in Pidie. A Turkish Red Crescent community centre in Banda Aceh opens this month, with a specialty on providing professional psychosocial counseling and training PMI volunteers to continue psychosocial programmes for the long term.

The Canadian Red Cross is progressing with its integrated, community-based approach to re-create 62 villages in Aceh Besar, Aceh Jaya and Nias. The approach includes a full spectrum of activities, beginning with community consultation, surveying and procedural support for land title verification, spatial planning, disaster risk mitigation, and the process of helping people choose and customize their choice among four home models, all of which are expandable by design. Additionally, the Canadian Red Cross will build health facilities, schools and meneusah (traditional Islamic community centres) if no other donor is identified to meet those needs.

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