ACEH HOUSING AND RECOVERY PROJECT
Background Information: The earthquakes that occurred at the West Coast of Indonesia, Sumatra and Nicobar Islands of India which was followed by the devastating Tsunami tides has hit the shores of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand on December 26th, 2004 also affecting other countries in the region. Aceh Province of Indonesia, only 150 kilometers away from the epicenter of the earthquake was the most affected region from the tsunami waves of 11 meters of height, engulfing the shore with the speed of 300 kilometers per hour. The devastating disaster killed more than 200,000 people and made hundreds of thousands homeless in the region.
The disaster of the century mobilized the international community, responding with humanitarian support to the Aceh provinces?needs. Due to the major dimensions of the disaster, the emergency period took longer than other cases, and after the disaster response works covered more than three months of time, the rehabilitation and the reconstruction considerations had started. Families were reluctant to leave their villages and to move in the provided rooms in barracks at transitional camps, facing problems due to low living conditions in tents and needing support for durable housing solutions and for normalization of community life.
Project Summary: Three main activities were planned within the scope of this project. The first one had been construction of core houses for families who were affected from the tsunami. The second one was construction of Meunasahes, a public building which is used for both praying and gathering activities and Musollahes, giving service only for praying. The third one was mobilization of community to identify their mutual problems and produce mutually accepted solutions and implementation of small scale recovery activities which are to be decided and managed by the community itself.
Project Goal: To contribute to the recovery of Aceh region through providing housing solutions and facilitating community-driven recovery activities.
Project Beneficiaries: At least 3200 people that have been affected from earthquake and tsunami of December 26th and inhabitants in 4 different locations that had been totally destroyed as the result of the disaster are the project beneficiaries.
In majority the Project activities took place in Jaya Sub-District located 90 kilometers of South Aceh Province and its villages namely Alue Mie, Mukhan and M.Rayeuk.
The Tsunami severely flooding the 5 kilometers of the shoreline has affected the transways within Jaya region, permanently drawing the roads into the sea. Evidently Jaya Sub-District has been the latest region that had been reached and that has benefited from the aid activities. The village Mukhan, among the villages of Jaya region had the outstanding disadvantages among all, with the location being surrounded by the sea and the near passing river, the access from the land being destroyed by the disaster.
Since the manually operated raft being the only possible access for the villagers and for? vehicles, had put the village into the most disadvantaged position where aid support?was omitted and required special importance and attention within the activities in Jaya region. Although it had been 2 years after the tsunami and considerable progress in road constructions had been achieved there were still significant difficulties in transportation within the Jaya region.
On the other hand, especially within the beginning months of the project severe difficulties of human safety were lived within the territory due to the armed separatist Aceh Freedom Movement’s actions, where the international institutions had faced intensities and one of them ending with casualty. Although this threat had decreased following the signing of the Helsinki MOU between the Indonesian Government and the Aceh Freedom Movement, it was still felt within the duration of the project.?
Housing and recovery activities required a mass material flow and monitoring due to its nature. Nevertheless the activities have been realized under negative logistic conditions as territorial security, inaccessibility especially during the heavy raining season, lack of infrastructure such as water and sewage systems and lack of electricity.
Another fourth village was added near the end of the project due to a formal request, in Blang Kreung village that?is a few kilometers away from Banda Aceh City Center.
Housing Activities :
In Jaya Villages
431 core houses were built by end October 2006 in Jaya district within the villages of Alue Mie, Mukhan and M.Rayeuk. During the preliminary works of the project the house types were determined as wooden walls on concrete foundations with tin roofs resistant to heavy rains and adequate to territorial conditions, also taking into consideration the familiarities of the families to the materials used and giving them the possibility of expanding their houses according to their needs.
Since there were no existing records for maps, cadastral works or title deeds and property rights, assessments were made within the villages prior to the start of the construction works. Family records that were prepared by the village Kachi’s (head of village) and the participation of the village committees were prioritized. The locations for the constructions were determined upon the settlement plan that had been drawn and certified by the Kachi and the Camat (head of district) followed by an agreement and declaration that were signed by the families and two witnesses, witnessing for the families?property rights. In order to eliminate any confusion, photographs of each family were taken from different angles, with members standing on their properties and recorded. The families and their property rights have been brought to the village meetings and the issue was discussed to avoid any objection and disapproval before starting the construction.
The constructions have started in small different groups in order to enable the families to move into their houses as soon as they were finished and not to wait for the finish of the whole construction works. As anticipated during the project planning, many families started to expand their houses within short time after moving in. With the intention of improving their settling and living conditions some have added terraces or a small room or two while others adding a small caf?to the existing construction by this chance that have been provided to themselves.?
The University of Syiah Kuala, being the biggest and the only state university of Aceh Province had also been affected from the earthquake and tsunami in addition to the hundreds of casualties in their personnel and students and hundreds becoming homeless. The university made an appeal to the government and the NGO’s in order to provide support in housing for its aggrieved members and to quicken the recovery of the educational life that met the acceptance of the relief groups that were involved. Although logistic conditions not being very difficult the requirements still had not been met following the year after tsunami within the territory. Within the insufficient housing activities Syiah Kuala University has requested additional support in housing for Blang Kreung village, construction of a Musholla from which all the villagers would benefit from. Blang Kreung village was included to the project activities and 37 core houses and their waste water canals were constructed. The constructions were decided to be in concrete type since the territory being close to Banda Aceh wherein the majority of the housing was of concrete type of construction.
Musholla Construction in Blang Kreung Village
In Aceh the Mushollas are the praying places that exist within villages and neighborhoods serving to a local and limited community. In Blang Kreung village of Baitussalam territory, wherein several institutions were constructing houses along with our 37 core houses, a Musholla and ablution places with 2 WC capable to serve about 200 families has been constructed within this frame of activities. The structure has been designed to match the traditional patterns and built in semi-covered form.
Construction of the Meunasah in M.Rayeuk
The Meunasah is defined as a special location for Aceh having a unique understanding throughout Indonesia. The structure being smaller then a mosque not only serves for praying but also for community gatherings, administrative meetings, where in brief serving as a community center to the local inhabitants. M.Rayeuk being within the villages involved to the project and that had the Meunasah being collapsed was in need of such a structure.
Women and Children’s? Center in Mukhan village of Jaya District
Several meetings had been done with the village committee and the women of the villagers in Mukhan to determine the not met requirements and necessities and it was decided to construct a women’s and children’s center for the community. The participation and the strong demand of the women has been the main factor for this decision and the construction had been made.
The center has been designed to give service for three activity rooms for especially having sewing and culinary trainings for women and additional two rooms for children’s activities has been built and handed over to the Family Welfare and Empowerment Foundation’s representative of the village. It is foreseen that at least 2 neighboring villages are to benefit from the center that has been constructed.
Musholla for Women in Mukhan Village
It has been determined during villages meetings that there was a necessity to build a Women’s Musholla to the village since the previous existing one had collapsed due to tsunami and the construction had been realized again with the ideas and participation of the women of the village. Additionally floor carpeting for the Musholla has been provided to match the needs.
Meunasah Construction in Alue Mie and Mukhan Villages
Due to the tsunami disaster Alue Mie and Mukhan villages along with the surrounding villages had lost the possibility of having a place for village community gatherings. For this purpose technical and material support has been given to the villagers for the construction of such structures in order to match their requirements. As previously mentioned the Meunasahes are to service for praying, community meetings and for gatherings in special occasions.?
Culinary Material Support to Alue Mie, Mukhan and M.Rayeuk Villages
Culinary Materials Support has been provided to the Alue Mie, Mukhan and M.Rayeuk villages of Jaya District. The materials consisting 2866 pieces of utensils in total is and capable of giving service to 360 individuals. The materials were handed over to the Family Welfare and Empowerment representative of the villages to be used on special occasions, weddings, and mass village organizations and also for culinary trainings that would be organized by the Family Welfare and Empowerment Organization. Additionally they could be lent for the use of the families in need for their private special occasions.
Street Lighting in Ale Mie Village
The already insufficient infrastructure in village lighting had been collapsed by the tsunami disaster putting the villages of Jaya region to darkness during nights and bringing along a considerate security problems. The Alue Mie village living the nights in darkness, has been supported by 75 street lightings, 2000 meters of power cable and a 7,5 KWA generator. The program was also supported by the villagers in the preparation of the lighting poles according to the technical layout and calculations provided by the project team.
Wedding Set to Mukhan Village
The Aceh community is still conservative on their traditional behaviors wherein their wedding ceremonies can be mentioned. The traditional costumes of the bride and the groom, the costumes of the invited guest participating, the wedding room decorations and the throne of the bride and groom in traditional Aceh decorations are the significant examples of the colorful Aceh weddings. It is also in custom to hire -with a considerable high cost- the mentioned costumes in cases where the village or the neighborhood does not own one for hire or lease bringing an additional burden for the families or the newlyweds. Within this frame and with the demand of the villagers a set of wedding dresses were handed over to the Mukhan Women and Children Activity Center. The set would be used by the villagers and they can also be rented to the near villages creating an income to the Center.