EU, World Bank laud Aceh reconstruction

Saturday, July 15, 2006
By nias

Friday, July 14, 2006

M. Taufiqurrahman, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The European Union and the World Bank praised Thursday progress in the reconstruction of tsunami-hit Aceh, terming it superior to disaster recovery efforts in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.

Top officials from the EU and the World Bank said that despite massive logistical problems, the Aceh-Nias Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency (BRR) managed to deliver much-needed basic facilities for the survivors of the December 2004 disaster as well as an earthquake in Nias in March 2005.

“When you look at reconstruction elsewhere, they (the BRR) are doing pretty well, especially if you look at what is going on in Louisiana,” the World Bank’s sector coordinator for social development, Scott Guggenheim, told a press conference.

He said that aside from Louisiana — where rebuilding in heavily affected New Orleans and its suburbs has begun to pick up from the August 2005 disaster — other countries in the Middle East and Asia were still in the process of reconstruction from recent quake disasters.

Although national legislators have criticized the slow pace of rebuilding, Guggenheim said it would be too much to expect the BRR to top its present achievements given the logistical problems of the two areas.

“Everyone would be happier if they could have 120,000 houses in six months. In Nias, where cement has to be carried on the backs of motorcycles, it is ridiculous to hope for the building of 10,000 houses within a year.”

Guggenheim also said the Aceh reconstruction fared better than other countries hit by disasters in preventing corruption of aid.

“So far, only 1 percent of the reconstruction fund is unaccounted far, but we learned that in Louisiana the amount of funds that was misused was US$2 billion,” he said.

The European Union’s head of delegation, Jean Breteche, also lauded the effort. “I must say that the work here is quite good.”

Breteche said that it would take years for living and working conditions and economic development to be fully restored.

After one year of reconstruction efforts, the BRR has managed to build 41,734 houses of the targeted 120,000. The BRR is also required to reconstruct 80,000 houses that were partly damaged by the quake and tsunami that struck Aceh on Dec. 26, 2004.

The BRR is planning to build 78,000 houses by year’s end, with its housing projects expected to be completed by the end of 2007.

The Multi Donor Fund, which includes the EU and the World Bank, has in the last one year completed the construction of 2,800 houses, 1,000 kilometers of roads and over 4,00 bridges, and created jobs for more than 24,500 people.

The fund has pledged $550 million for reconstruction in Aceh and Nias, and already allocated $392 million for various reconstruction projects.

Senior adviser to the BRR chief Bima Aria Wibisana responded to the criticism of the pace of reconstruction and the quality of the homes by saying lawmakers only wanted to see what they wanted to see.

“Two favorite places that the legislators like to visit are Calang and Ulee Lhuele, where reconstruction work is just starting,” Bima said. (Source: The Jakarta Post)

Leave a Reply

Comment spam protected by SpamBam

Kalender Berita

July 2006