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Good Progress Shown In Post-tsunami Housing Construction; Long-term Building Continues

Habitat for Humanity unveils an 18-month report on its Indian Ocean tsunami-recovery program

BANGKOK, 12th July 2006: Eighteen months after the Indian Ocean tsunami devastated coastal areas of Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand, Habitat for Humanity is looking beyond reconstruction to put in place long-term programs that reduce the grim effects of poverty.

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Long-term programs: one of hundreds of Habitat homes in Mulia in Banda Aceh, Indonesia

“Though Habitat for Humanity’s focus is on housing, we are mindful of other actions, called for by the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals, which are needed to break the cycle of poverty and suffering. We seek no less than healthy, self-sustaining, productive lives for every member of every community where we work,” said Steve Weir, Asia-Pacific area vice-president for Habitat for Humanity International.

The tsunami-recovery efforts are making a lasting impact on thousands of lives. So far more than 5,200 houses have been built or repaired and about 2,700 are under construction. Over the next year and a half, plans are to provide good housing for more than 10,000 families and to assist three times that many with training and disaster mitigation services.

In a special report published today, Habitat for Humanity highlights the achievements and challenges the organization has dealt with as it works with families, partner organizations, donors, governments and other supporters to help rebuild the lives of families affected by the deadly December 2004 tsunami. Even as the world’s focus has shifted to other more recent disasters, Habitat for Humanity will continue building tsunami-recovery housing through the end of 2007. Having established Habitat resource centers in disaster-prone coastal areas, Habitat will continue to assist low-income families to improve their housing.

Moving Forward

Rebuilding the tsunami-affected regions will continue long into the future. Water, electricity, sanitation and other infrastructure and services are yet to be completed. Schools, community centers and clinics are needed. In some communities, because of their remoteness or delays in obtaining land, Habitat is only now able to begin constructing houses.

To address the needs, Habitat for Humanity will continue to partner other non-governmental organizations or micro-finance organizations in multi-faceted development programs. Programs that go beyond house construction to provide skills and livelihood development and address water and sanitation needs.

Habitat Resource Centers (HRCs) are the delivery point for services. They offer a range of small business and training support. These might include small business start-up for block or roof tile production, masonry and carpentry training and certification, construction management, appropriate technology, housing micro-finance and other affordable shelter-related support enterprises. In short, an HRC bridges the housing affordability gap in a community by facilitating the development of local businesses needed to provide simple, decent, affordable homes.

Through HRCs, Habitat for Humanity’s national organizations in India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand will continue to serve the housing needs of families in tsunami-affected regions.