NGOs Continue Post-Tsunami Reconstruction Efforts

Relief efforts in tsunami-devastated regions is far from over, many sources say. Aid-workers face monumental tasks in reconstruction as well as unwanted political issues.
( [email protected] ) Feb 01, 2005 07:44 PM EST

Several non-governmental organizations (NGO) have made plans to continue reconstruction efforts left by the destruction from tsunami that swept through much of South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Various sources report that reconstruction efforts in the vast swathe of tsunami-devastated regions are far from being over. In other places, relief efforts have run into additional troubles.

In India, for example, survivors reportedly continue to suffer from supply misdistribution. Various sources including Reuters have reported that all too often, higher-caste members would receive more than the allotted disaster-relief amount while lower-caste members would sometimes go days without receiving food or shelter.

In the Aceh region fighting between rebel guerillas and government troops have renewed, prompting authorities to require all NGOs working in the vicinity to register and be accompanied by officers.

Nonetheless, despite these setbacks NGOs continue to work frantically to restore some form of infrastructure back to the region. Last week, World Vision International donated two newly-manufactured ambulances to a provincial hospital in Aceh Banda, Indonesia. In addition, the organization announced on its website that it will start relief operations in the small town of Lam No in the Aceh region.

Last Thursday, the Secretary General of the Hong Kong Red Cross KM Chan reported that the International Red Cross group will hold conference on Indian Ocean tsunami reconstruction scheduled for early March in Hong Kong.

Delegations from Red Cross groups located in disaster-regions and about 50-donor countries are expected to attend the conference. The delegations will discuss about evaluation reports from an unnamed expert group. The expert group will conduct investigations and evaluations in tsunami-devastated territory in regards to drinking water, housing, and medical treatment.

Chan also reported that Hong Kong Red Cross received about HK$457 million ($US 48 million) in donations.

Increasingly, much of the large scale reconstruction efforts have been handed down to NGOs as governments in tsunami-devastated territory have set deadlines for foreign military personnel to depart. In Indonesia, the government set the departure deadline for all foreign military personnel for March 26.

In previous weeks, military personnel ranging from Australian Army doctors to US sailors could be seen distributing supplies to various aid-camps in the Aceh region of Indonesia.

As foreign militaries begin withdrawing their troops, much of relief work will rest squarely on the shoulders of NGO worker and local volunteer workers.