Media Contacts: In Washington: Geetanjali Chopra (202) 473-0243
In Jakarta: Mohamad Al-Arief (62-21) 5299-3000
WASHINGTON, December 22, 2005 –The reconstruction process in Aceh has been proceeding “reasonably well” compared to other disasters, according to the World Bank’s Country Director for Indonesia, Andrew Steer.
But as the world marks one year since the tsunami and earthquake devastated Aceh, Steer says it’s too early to judge whether reconstruction will be a success after the unparalleled disaster, which left 167,000 dead or missing along an 800 kilometer strip of coastline that had been swept clean of buildings and all signs of life.
Steer says after an initial slow start, there are now about 5,000 houses under construction a month. “Compared to reconstruction after other disasters, certainly this one is doing reasonably well,” Steer says. “So far about 25,000 permanent houses have been built. Now they will need about 100,000 homes.
“But it looks like the rest will be built in the next 16 to 18 months, which will mean that everybody will be in permanent housing by the middle of 2007. We wish it could be more rapid, but from the very beginning we never expected a pace more rapid than that.”
Steer says the real work of the reconstruction – perhaps worth US$2 to $3 billion – will take place in 2006, with an equivalent amount to be spent in 2007.
“The important thing to remember is that this is not the end. The success or failure of this entire enterprise will depend more on year two, than in year one. The second anniversary will be the one that counts.”