Page 3 of 3   <      

Expediting Homes for Tsunami Victims

Dave Hodgkin, a consultant to the aid group Fauna & Flora International, shows Acehnese villagers a design of a home.
Dave Hodgkin, a consultant to the aid group Fauna & Flora International, shows Acehnese villagers a design of a home. (Photos By Ellen Nakashima -- The Washington Post)

"Total destruction is total destruction and it takes time to rebuild -- and I'm not even referring to Katrina," said Scott Campbell, Aceh director for Catholic Relief Services. "I'm referring to Hurricanes Ivan and Charlie and others over a year old where people are still not in permanent houses. And this is coming from a country where there's loads of resources and infrastructure."

In recognition that many people here are going to have to wait until 2007 for permanent houses, international Red Cross groups, the United Nations and the BRR are building 20,000 transitional homes of galvanized steel. Officials hope to move most people out of tents by April.

In what is left of the village of Meudangghon, a mile from the sea, 30 families live in tents on a field once lush with mango, durian and orange trees. Thirty other families are in barracks in the nearest town, 45 minutes away by motorbike and ferry.

The villagers plan to rebuild on higher ground about 1 1/2 miles inland, near a mountain. The land they will build on belongs to several villagers, who have agreed to sell the land to their fellow villagers, with the local government putting up the money, said Helen Barnes, the project manager of Fauna & Flora in Aceh.

Mohammad Nasir, the village head, said the planning process has taken a long time. But he said he believes it will be worth it.

"I have faith," he said. "I am optimistic this will work."

Special correspondent Yayu Yuniar contributed to this report.


<          3

© 2006 The Washington Post Company