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Rebuilding Earthquake-hit Homes And Communities In Indonesia – Brick By Brick, Family By Family

Habitat for Humanity’s One Year Rebuilding Plan After Yogyakarta Earthquake

JAKARTA, 19th June 2006: Habitat for Humanity Indonesia has mapped out a one-year action plan that will focus on three districts – Bantul, Prambanan and Klaten - affected by the 6.2-Richter-scale earthquake in Yogyakarta and Central Java, Indonesia. The total damage and losses caused by the May tragedy is estimated at US$3.1 billion.

Preparing to rebuild: Habitat volunteers and staff work with local community members to clear debris and collect reusable building materials in Bantul district, Yogyakarta, the worst area hit by the May earthquake

Mutual help: the spirit “gotong royong” is alive and kicking in Bantul district where Habitat volunteers and staff work alongside the local residents prepare a site to build a new home. Communities have set up temporary shelters and common cooking areas to prepare meals.

“We have made an excellent start. With the help of our grassroots partners, we have gone into communities to make initial assessments of the damage and get an understanding of the needs of the community, said Handoko Ngadiman, national director of Habitat for Humanity Indonesia.

“More than 100 volunteers from our local network have been doing immediate response work. We have received donations of two construction tool mobile units, initiated the set-up of a Habitat Resource Center and confirmed several corporate partners, including one who will be adopting a community under our ‘Adopt-a-Community’ model.”
In one year, Habitat for Humanity Indonesia aims to serve an estimated 1,000 families. An estimated 16 existing Habitat families had their homes destroyed or badly damaged by the earthquake.

A Habitat Resource Centre is being set up in the city of Yogyakarta to be the focus of Habitat’s response. The HRC will focus on the preparation of the community and the sites for rebuilding. The HRC will offer construction and training services for earthquake mitigation and the appropriate technology for rebuilding, and is already coordinating volunteer mobilization.

Working together, the HFH Indonesia national office and the Yogyakarta affiliate have established a special team to co-ordinate the Habitat response. A project manager and three project co-ordinators are being recruited.

Habitat staff are already out in communities. Collaborating with community partners such as social and religious institutions, Habitat staff have gone to villages such as Klegen, Sribit and Klaras to meet with community representatives, families and assess conditions of the homes. This approach mirrors the bottom-up, community-centered approach used by HFH Indonesia in areas of Aceh affected by the 2004 tsunami.
As a precursor to formal rebuilding, teams of volunteers from local universities, religious institutions and multi-national corporations have stepped in to help in clearing debris and collecting reusable construction materials such as bricks, timber, door and window frames.

To help lighten the work load of homeowners and the volunteer teams, Habitat has garnered donations of two sets of construction tools. Each set, comprising a portable generator, jack hammer, electrical saw and other tools, is lent to a village in turn. The target is to have 15 such construction tool kits available by August. 

Volunteers from the Universitas Kirsten Duta Wacana have been helping with debris clearing and the collection of reusable building materials. In addition, they are involved in the designing and planning of new homes and communities with special attention paid to making the new homes earthquake resistant.

In line with and complementing government intervention on housing, Habitat’s concept of “sweat equity” – or “gotong royong” which is part of the traditional culture of mutual help within the Yogyakarta community – will be used in the reconstruction process. Sweat equity refers to the hours that homeowners will spend building their own home and the homes of others in their community.

The Indonesian government has announced that it will begin giving out cash to survivors in three installments for the rebuilding of houses. Depending on the extent of the damage to the houses, each family could receive up to US$3,000. Distribution of funds is expected to begin next month and will continue until January 2007.