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Two Earthquakes, One Tsunami — Habitat For Humanity Responds To A Spate Of Natural Disasters In Asia-Pacific

Sumatra Earthquake Is Second Earthquake To Strike Indonesia In A Month; HFH New Zealand Garnering Support For Tsunami Response In Samoa

SUMATRA, 8th October 2009: A team from Habitat for Humanity has made an initial assessment of the damage caused by the 7.6-magnitude earthquake that struck the coast of Padang, in southern Sumatra, Indonesia, and is in the process of developing a response plan.


A damaged house in Padang city which is among the worst affected areas following the West Sumatra earthquake, the second earthquake to hit Indonesia in a month.


A school destroyed by a 7.6-magnitude earthquake that struck West Sumatra, Indonesia, causing massive destruction.

The main shelter intervention will likely build on the “core house” design implemented in Habitat for Humanity Indonesia’s Yogyakarta earthquake project. The model is a 18 sq. m. house with a latrine that will have earthquake-resistant design features and can be expanded in the future using salvaged materials.

Other works would include repair and rehabilitation, water and sanitation, debris removal with a cash-for-work component and the distribution of housing materials and construction tools.

Habitat has been participating in meetings with government departments and non-governmental organizations involved in the relief activities. The emergency response and coordination is headed by the provincial disaster management department, or Satkorlak, with support from various United Nations agencies.

Based on its experiences from past projects, Habitat for Humanity will implement a community-based disaster response plan where village leaders and people are mobilized to carry out reconstruction based on the principle of gotong royong or community self-help.

HFH Indonesia operates a resource center in Medan, in the northern part of Sumatra island.

HFH Indonesia has extensive experience in rebuilding after disasters. In May 2006, an earthquake struck Yogyakarta, also on Java. HFH Indonesia mobilized communities to build more than 1,100 homes, including 60 houses for the disabled. It also helped build community facilities. In Aceh, Habitat has assisted more than 6,000 families to date since the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

West Java, Indonesia: Habitat for Humanity Indonesia began construction under the first phase of its response to the earthquake which hit West Java just over a month ago. The first 200 homes are due to be completed by December.

This is part of the first phase with a goal of supporting 1,000 families in badly affected Pangalengan to rebuild homes and schools and, through mitigation programs, to protect their lives and property against future catastrophes. It will also invest in the capacity to assist thousands more through partnerships with local authorities and other non-governmental organizations. The strategy will be to involve communities in the planning and implementation including ensuring that eligible families benefit from Habitat’s permanent housing solutions.

Habitat for Humanity is seeking US$1.2 million for the first-phase of a long-term and sustained effort to rebuild homes and lives following the earthquake on 2nd September in West Java, Indonesia.

Samoa: New Zealanders responded favorably to Habitat for Humanity New Zealand’s Project Samoa Hope, a shelter response to the Samoan tsunami.

“Over 150 people have responded with offers of help, tradespeople who want to assist in some way. Churches are asking us about how we can partner together,” said Pete North, chief executive officer of HFH New Zealand.

HFH New Zealand hopes to support the Samoan community in partnership with the New Zealand government and other non-governmental organizations for the repair and construction of emergency and long-term shelter as well as water and sanitation facilities.

Latest estimates indicate that over 1,000 families are homeless in the worst affected areas of Samoa following last week’s tsunami.

There is a large Samoan population living in New Zealand.