Indonesia Pledges $34 Million to Rebuild Wasior by Early 2012

The Jakarta Globe

Nurfika Osman & Elisabeth Oktofani

Armida Alisjahbana, minister of national development planning, on Thursday predicted that all reconstruction and rehabilitation in Wasior, West Papua, would be completed by early 2012, pledging nearly Rp 304 billion ($34 million) to rebuild the region devastated by flash floods.

The floods overwhelmed the area in October, killing 161 people with 7,000 left homeless and 146 missing and presumed dead. The Teluk Wondama district administration in Wasior says those displaced will eventually be relocated to the Rasiei and Naikere districts in West Papua.

“We have recently begun discussing the implementation of our rehabilitation and reconstruction program, since completing an inventory of the damages and losses incurred as a result of flash floods in Wasior,” Armida said, suggesting that program activities would include the construction of temporary housing, basic infrastructure and restoring economic and social activity.

She added that the government had already finished building temporary housing and public kitchens, as well as supplying a source for clean water.

“We have finished building 99 temporary homes that are ready to be occupied,” Armida said, adding that further reconstruction activities would ideally begin by the middle of next year, including plans to permanently relocate over 7,000 people from Wasior to 1,500 newly built homes in Rasiei and Naikere by 2012.

“In the first six months of next year, we plan to draw out the full plans. The reconstruction work can only begin after everything is ready, which should be mid 2011,” Armida said. “We expect that all relocation activities will be completed by early 2012.”

The central bank has pledged to help out by providing credit facilities to disaster victims to help them rebuild.

Six foreign governments have agreed to contribute to a $30 million fund to help establish community empowerment programs in support of disaster-recovery efforts across Wasior, as well as the disaster-struck zones of Mentawai in West Sumatra and cities in close proximity to Mount Merapi, the World Bank said on Thursday.

Citra Lestari, a World Bank consultant speaking to the Jakarta Globe, named the contributing governments as Australia, the Netherlands, Denmark, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the European Union.

She said the fund would be managed by the National Community Empowerment Program (PNPM) .

The fund is intended to support community disaster recovery efforts and assist affected households in restoring their livelihoods, Citra said.

It would also pay for the timely provision of investment block grants, to help generate economic activity and employment, providing badly needed income for households, as well as fund “cash for work” initiatives under existing PNPM programs.

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