With Christian Aid funds, Habitat for Humanity has built 1,240 earthquake-resistant houses in Indonesia over the last three years, providing permanent shelter for more than 7,000 people.
In Indonesia, the tsunami killed 179,000 people in a matter of minutes. Boats and cars were washed kilometres inland. Tens of thousands of homes were swept away, and bridges and roads collapsed.
Half of Banda Aceh, a major city in the north of Sumatra, was razed to the ground leaving behind a barren wasteland and few survivors.
Surya Kamal and his family, along with the rest of his village on the west coast of Sumatra, spent 12 months in a temporary camp on the side of a mountain. They had no running water, food or medicine.
After a few months aid agencies began to visit the area. ‘They kept coming and going,’ recalls Surya, ‘but nothing ever happened.
‘[But] when Habitat for Humanity came to visit us, we knew we could trust them.’
Habitat for Humanity rebuilt Surya’s village, and earlier this year he was able move into a new house.
We chose to support Habitat in the tsunami response because they build affordable, earthquake-resistant houses.
They also take community development very seriously. For each project, staff move in and live side by side with the community until the last house is completed.
Arwin Soelaksono, Habitat’s operations manager, believes this is key to rebuilding successfully – ‘it is the only way to gain the trust of the people that live there’ he says.
Christian Aid responded immediately in Indonesia through the Action by Churches Together (ACT) network, a collection of international organisations that respond together when an emergency strikes.
We were not working in Indonesia at the time, but the ACT network meant we could begin to send funds right away. Over the last three years we have established partnerships with three more organisations to build on our programme with ACT partners.