Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Two Sides to Every Coin

More on the problems in Banda that seem to be coming to a head again. As I've stated previously, there have been protests at BRR, the government agency in charge of rebuilding. Last week, the protest turned a little more agressive. It seems that most of the protestors were many still living in temporary wooden barracks created for the tsunami survivors as they await their new homes. (http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/JAK269386.htm)

None of this is new news. Last year, the media was reporting on corruption. Yes, it will take a long time to rebuild this area, and people are honestly doing the best they can, without the infrastructure, materials, or skilled labor they hoped they would have.
Reuters again is reporting on the situation:
Corruption, bureaucracy and heavy-handed security forces remain obstacles to economic development in Indonesia's tsunami-hit Aceh province, the head of the agency charged with rebuilding the region said on Monday.
The police and military still operate according to rules drawn up to counter a separatist insurgency even though there has been peace since last year, said Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, director of the Aceh reconstruction agency, or BRR. .........
Mangkusubroto said creating a business-friendly climate and overhauling a corrupt system were some of the challenges Aceh faces in the coming years.
International agencies and countries have already put $4.6 billion into the reconstruction of Aceh -- on the northern tip of Sumatra some 1,700 km (1,000 miles) northwest of Jakarta -- after it was hit by a devastating tsunami that left up to 232,000 people dead or missing in a dozen Indian Ocean nations.
Mangkusubroto said progress in the reconstruction effort had been "encouraging".He said all basic infrastructure would be in place by 2009 and all 128,000 new houses for displaced tsunami survivors would be complete by the end of next year.
The reconstruction agency is under fire after a leading Indonesian anti-graft group charged last month that there were financial irregularities in five BRR projects worth 23.9 billion rupiah ($2.6 million).
Some BRR officials said the report was inaccurate and could affect disbursement of funds from foreign donors. Mangkusubroto has said several staff were being investigated.
Corruption is endemic in Indonesia although the BRR has taken a number of steps to try to minimise or eliminate it in the recovery effort.

Read the article in its entirety at http://www.alertnet.org.thenews/newsdesk/JAK316906.htm

There is much going on here, from rebuilding houses, to helping farmers grow crops to healing children and adults from the worst tsunami on record.

On the 'soft side' as they say, in the NGO world, WorldVision successfully completed an Arts and Crafts Exhibit consisting of sculptures, handicrafts, and paintings from mroe than 200 children and 50 youth from Aceh Besar, southeast of Banda.

The exhibit attracted more than 400 people. Handicrafts inlcluded flowers sculpted from soap, wooden spoons, farmers hats and children's kites.

This article can be seen at http://www.alertnet.org.thenews/fromthefield/217167/115795372062.htm.

To give you a nice perspective on the whole shebang from the faith-based, NGO, CRS side of things, read this wonderful speech given last year, if you have a couple moments. Okay, maybe more than a couple. It goes back to something I said earlier about this organization being a good neighbor; something to be proud to be a part of, whether it is as a donor, a worker, or a discombobulated spouse. http://www.crs.org/about_us/newsroom/speeches_and_testimony/releases.cfm?ID=26

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