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Need still great in SE Asia

Relief agencies continue to help rebuild the tsunami-ravaged areas of Southeast Asia.


Relief agencies continue to help rebuild the tsunami-ravaged areas of Southeast Asia.

Not only are agencies continuing with home rebuilds, but the agencies are also helping provide medical and sanitation facilities and livelihood programs.

Agencies like Church World Service-Indonesia (CWSI) are helping supply survivors in the Banda Aceh region of Indonesia with the tools and equipment for their particular jobs. Livelihood assistance and training has been given to fishermen, carpenters, furniture makers, bakers and many small business owners in 392 households there.

The tsunami destroyed many fishing villages in Indonesia and so CWSI is providing new boats to help communities become sustainable again. CWSI is also helping families on the island of Nias by training them in animal husbandry and horticulture.

CWSI also continues to help rebuild homes and sanitation systems around the region. In Paroy village, for example, a new water supply project will provide some 104 households with a permanent piped water system. CWSI representatives have also educated the village about hygiene and sanitation.

CWSI is working with UNICEF in the Tugala village on a water purification unit. According to CWSI, the unit produces enough clean water each day for more than 6,700 people.

The agency is also offering psychological support for adults and children now almost 18 months after the devastating tsunami that claimed more than 200,000 lives.

Lutheran World Relief (LWR) representatives in Sri Lanka just celebrated the opening of a housing reconstruction project. An eco-village of 55 family homes opened in the Kallutara district. Each home includes features like rainwater harvesting and solar panels. LWR provided the household furnishings to all the families who moved in after the celebration. Five other villages of 200 total homes are also being built in nearby areas.

According to an LWR release, housing remains a priority in post-tsunami Sri Lanka. More than 250,000 people are still living in transitional shelters. LWR is working closely with Action by Churches Together (ACT), CWSI and numerous other agencies to provide livelihood trainings, water and sanitation systems, and emotional care.

ACT is working through local partners in the affected countries. The agency reports that fishing nets have been supplied to thousands of fishermen across Sri Lanka through a countrywide partner there. The local partners also help the international agencies find the areas where needs may have gone unnoticed until recently. On example is in the Jaffna district, where some 56 families were living in an area that still had no sanitation facilities. The local partner helped secure sanitary facilities for the families.

Local partners are also helping children get back into schools, even if the schools are simply a room in a temporary tent.

Indonesians agencies like the YAKKUM Emergency Unit (YEU) are also helping communities help themselves. YEU teaches communities about medical care and basic health with the aim of getting these small villages to not just rely on outside help.

Other local agencies are providing trauma support to those who lost family members. The Strengthening and Raising the People Organization is creating working groups of women who lost their families. The women weave intricate textile goods to sell. While that happens, said SRPO's Sri Mariswaty, the emotional bonds created amongst the women are much like new family - a support network during a difficult time.

The difficult time is expected to continue for years. Relief agencies report that despite the influx of help, malnutrition is still a major issue - as is the lack of housing and jobs.

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More links on Disaster Recovery


Related Links:

Church World Service - Indonesia

Lutheran World Relief

Action by Churches Together

YAKKUM Emergency Unit

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