U.S., Indonesian partners continue tsunami reconstruction work

Projects include rebuilding communities, providing civil engineer training

By Todd Bullock, Washington File Staff Writer

Washington - U.S. government agencies, businesses and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are making progress on reconstruction projects with partners in several parts of Indonesia affected by the December 2004 tsunami.

In an August 8 press release, the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta announced the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and ConocoPhillips Indonesia have entered into a public-private alliance to rebuild five villages along the western coast of Indonesia's Aceh province.

According to the press release, ConocoPhillips Indonesia is providing $1.2 million to directly support recovery and reconstruction efforts in the villages of Saney, U Tamong, Teumareum, Kuala and Bahagia. The funds will be used exclusively for grants for cash-for-work programs, small-scale infrastructure and other community development activities in the five villages.

"This is an excellent example of a major private sector company making a powerful social commitment to assist with the recovery efforts in Aceh," USAID Indonesia Mission Director William M. Frej said in the press release.


According to the press release, the project funds will be channeled through USAID's Community Based Recovery (CBR) initiative. Begun in March, the initiative consists of three key elements:

  • Ensuring community participation in all aspects of the recovery process,

  • Encouraging partnership between communities and local government in the recovery process, and

  • Achieving measurable livelihood improvements in disaster-affected communities.

In Aceh, CBR is part of a broader USAID $400 million assistance package for Indonesia's tsunami recovery and reconstruction efforts in Aceh, Nias and North Sumatra.

"While these activities will provide income and employment opportunities, they will also build hope for a better future and provide a foundation for subsequent activities in these and other communities," the press release says.


In Banda Aceh, the U.S. Muslim NGO Imaam and an Indonesian counterpart Pos Keadilan Peduli Umat (PKPU) finished construction of 15 traditional houses August 6.

The stilt-house designs are based on traditional Aceh architecture using logs 30 centimeters (12 inches) in diameter as their main pillars, according to a newswire report the same day.

Each house is lifted between 2.5 to 3 meters (2.7 to 3.2 yards) from the ground and has east-west orientation. Rumbia leaf will be used for roofing to ensure durability and a cooler climate inside the house.

The completed stilt houses are the first of 100 that will be built by PKPU in cooperation with other Muslim NGOs, the report says.


In Indonesia's Riau province, 60 Indonesian students began small-scale civil engineering training July 16 as part of a three-month training program provided by USAID and the U.S. oil company Chevron.

This is the first training under the $10 million alliance between USAID and Chevron, according to a July 20 USAID fact sheet. Over the next few months, an additional 300 students will be trained on skills critical to the reconstruction process.

The alliance also supports the Indonesia government's plan to assist in restoring people's livelihoods in the aftermath of the tsunami, the fact sheet says.

For additional information see U.S. Response to Tsunami.

(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: