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Post Tsunami Reconstruction Problems

29 March 2006

Save The Children Addresses
Post Tsunami Reconstruction Problems

Save the Children, which has been helping children and families in Aceh for three decades, is committed to providing quality post-tsunami reconstruction in Aceh province. Thanks to internal systems and controls put in place by the agency, we learned that some structures do not meet our standards of quality.

Save the Children immediately suspended construction when this was discovered and has launched a full internal investigation into the issue. Any flaws in procedures and structures either completed or under construction will be rectified.

The agency immediately informed the Indonesian Government's monitoring agency, the Aceh and Nias Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Agency (BRR), about the problems it uncovered and has already conducted a series of meetings with home owners and communities in the affected areas while also meeting with local authorities and contractors.

"Obviously Save the Children New Zealand is disappointed that there have been problems with construction work being undertaken in Aceh. All of the 768 houses built so far (costing US$1million) are being individually assessed. Up to 250 houses may have defects ranging from minor problems, which do not prevent occupation, to some use of untreated timber and poor sanitation.

"New Zealand donors can be assured that none of their, or the Government's, donations to Save the Children, have been involved as all money from New Zealand has been utilised for education services including: teacher training, supply of school kits, text book provision and psychosocial support for children," Executive Director John Bowis said.

Save the Children has terminated the contracts of three housing inspectors for failing to do their jobs properly. The agency has launched an internal investigation into the circumstances of recent inspections and will report its findings to appropriate Indonesian authorities.

New construction has been temporarily postponed while Save the Children is working to ensure the highest levels of accountability, transparency and workmanship are reinstated. In addition, the agency will take the necessary steps to repair or rebuild structures that are not up to standard.

Save the Children continually monitors and evaluates procedures of its programmes. These systems have proved effective as the agency caught the problem early and will be able to rectify it in a timely fashion.

Save the Children has worked in Aceh for 30 years and remains committed to the long-term development of the province. The agency says it remains committed to build 3,660 permanent houses and 94 schools, and rebuild or repair 70 health centers. The construction work is part of Save the Children's five-year, US$150 million, tsunami relief plan.

ENDS.

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