"Once the humanitarian crisis is over, the cameras tend to leave just as the real hard work starts. I have therefore come to Banda Aceh and Nias at this critical time to see for myself how UN-HABITAT can help with the transition from relief to reconstruction,"Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, said during a visit to the region this week. "I am particularly pleased to be here at the same time as the launch of the Indonesian Government’s Blue Print for Reconstruction and Rehabilitation in order to see how we can support the national government in implementing their plans."
She signed two letters of intent with the Provincial Government of North Sumatra and the Provincial Government of Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam in Indonesia, to help with the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Banda Aceh, and the island of Nias which suffered from an earthquake in March of this year. While in Indonesia, Mrs. Tibaijuka also announced that UN-HABITAT is to begin the Aceh Settlement Support Programme (ASSP), in support of the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) emergency response and transitional recovery in Aceh.
The letters of intent pave the way for a working relationship between the national and regional governments of Indonesia and UN-HABITAT in setting up mechanisms for the transition from relief to rehabilitation reconstruction. They call on UN-HABITAT to help mobilize international resources so that the provincial governments can provide disaster resilient housing and rehabilitation.
The signing ceremonies came as the government announced a Blue Print for Reconstruction and Rehabilitation. The letters of intent also follow on from the successful conclusion of the Lake Toba Summit on Global Partnership on Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Post-Disaster Settlements which was held on 10 - 12 March.
Mrs. Tibaijuka commended the resilience and commitment of the people of Banda Aceh, Nias and the other affected communities in surviving the recent disasters. In Banda Ache over 125,000 people died as a result of the tsunami on 26 December 2004. In Nias, as a result of an earthquake measuring 8.9 on the richter scale which hit on 28 March 2005, over 900 people died and many houses and building were destroyed.
"UN-HABITAT looks forward to working with the local authorities in the region to design comprehensive strategy that will include the concerns of the people who have been so badly affected,"said Mrs. Tibaijuka. "The priority has to reflect the needs of those who are now displaced and homeless, and to integrate their concerns into long-term sustainable development of human settlements which will be disaster resilient."