BANGKOK (July 14, 2006) – Eighteen months after the Indian Ocean tsunami devastated coastal areas of Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand, Habitat for Humanity will expand its work to include additional long-term programs that will help reduce poverty in the region.
“Though Habitat for Humanity’s focus is on housing, we are mindful of other actions, called for by the United Nations’ 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.
Habitat’s tsunami-recovery efforts include more than 5,200 Habitat houses built or repaired and about 2,700 houses under construction. Over the next year and a half, plans are to provide housing in partnership with 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.
Rebuilding the tsunami-affected regions will also continue into the immediate 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. These programs go beyond house construction to provide skills and livelihood development and also address water and sanitation needs.
Habitat Resource Centers 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. 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.
About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in Americus, Ga., in 1976, Habitat has built more than 200,000 houses in nearly 100 countries, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than one million people. For more information, visit www.habitat.org  .