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Cablegate: Indonesia Earthquake Humanitarian Update #11: Snapshot Of

VZCZCXRO3280
OO RUEHDT RUEHPB
DE RUEHJA #1756/01 2921034
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 191034Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3623
INFO RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 8001
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1101
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 8855
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JAKARTA 001756

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP, CA
STATE FOR USAID
USAID FOR DCHA/OFDA CCHAN, ACONVERY, RTHAYER, AND RMT
USAID FOR ANE KROSEN
BANGKOK FOR ADWYER
NSC FOR CPRATT
USUN FOR DMERCADO
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
PACOM POLAD/J3/J5

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV CASC ECON EAID SENV ID PHUM AEMR ASEC CASC
MARR, PREL, PINR, AMGT, EAID, AQ, LA, RP, TN, VM, WS

SUBJECT: INDONESIA EARTHQUAKE HUMANITARIAN UPDATE #11: SNAPSHOT OF
EMERGENCY SHELTER NEEDS

REF: JAKARTA 01715

-------
Summary
-------

1. The USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team (USAID/DART) is
continually assessing the dynamic emergency shelter conditions of
areas affected by the September 30 earthquake, which severely
damaged nearly 140,000 houses. Little displacement has occurred, as
most families are living under tarps in close proximity to houses.
The most costly shelters, constructed of brick and tile roofs,
sustained more damage than less expensive shelters, constructed of
bamboo mats and thatch. Families are salvaging materials and have
commenced rebuilding houses. The humanitarian community is
concerned about reports that the Government of Indonesia (GoI) will
provide limited compensation to families whose houses were damaged
or destroyed. USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance
(USAID/OFDA) is providing temporary and transitional shelter
assistance, programs to provide the basis for a "build back better"
disaster risk reduction approach, and technical expertise. End
summary.

--------------------------------------
USAID/DART Assessment of Shelter Needs
--------------------------------------

2. Since arriving in West Sumatra Province following the September
30 earthquake, the USAID/DART field officer has assessed conditions
in 13 villages in Agam, Pariaman, and Padang Pariaman districts.
The shelter situation is rapidly changing, as some families continue
to live under tents while others have already begun rebuilding
houses. This assessment report serves as a snapshot of the shelter
situation at this point in time. One week from now, given the
rapidly changing nature of the shelter situation, this information
could be obsolete.

-- Damage and Displacement --

3. According to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the earthquake severely damaged nearly
140,000 houses in the three aforementioned districts. With only
minor exceptions, including the displaced persons camp per reftel,
families whose houses have sustained damage are remaining at points
of origin. The humanitarian community has received very few reports
of displacement away from the respective family's plot of land.

4. Almost all families in assessed areas are living under tarps in
very close proximity to their houses. Even where damage to houses
is relatively minimal, families are choosing to continue living
under tents outside. Many families have expressed the belief that a
larger earthquake is coming and fear entering their houses.

5. Shelters in affected areas are of three distinct types,
corresponding to the families' relative degree of wealth. Wealthy
families inhabit brick homes with clay tile roofs. Less expensive
are brick homes with corrugated galvanized iron roofs. Poorer
families live in bamboo weave mat homes with thatched roofs. The
USAID/DART field officer observed that houses with the clay tile
roofs were generally the ones most damaged by the earthquake. This
phenomenon could be due to the weight of the tile roof combined with
poor construction techniques that left the roof without sufficient
support during the quake.

-- Rebuilding Planned and Progressing --

6. The majority of families who lived in houses with clay tile
roofs reported plans to rebuild with wood construction. Some
families stated they would do this because wood construction is
"stronger" than brick construction, while other families plan to do
this because wood is less expensive than brick.


JAKARTA 00001756 002 OF 002


7. Throughout the earthquake-affected area, the USAID/DART field
officer observed families salvaging materials from the debris. When
asked what they intended to do with the material, families reported
plans to use the materials to begin rebuilding houses after saving a
sufficient amount of money.

8. Some families in areas assessed were already engaged in
reconstruction. One man reported that he did not want his family to
sleep under a tent during the upcoming rainy season. He expected to
rebuild his house within the next two or three weeks. The
USAID/DART field officer observed the man rebuilding a structurally
unsound house. (Comment: The story of this man highlights a trend
underway throughout the earthquake-affected area, as many families
have already started rebuilding houses. To positively influence the
current rebuilding phase, any earthquake-resistant construction
training must commence very soon. End comment.)

9. Health issues may arise if families continue to live under tents
during the rainy season. Health providers are concerned about a
possible increase in the number of pneumonia and upper respiratory
infections if families continue to live in settings open to the
elements during the rainy season.

-- GoI Support for Shelter Reconstruction Program --

10. Unsubstantiated reports are circulating that the GoI plans to
support a shelter reconstruction program. This program would
provide approximately $530, $1,060, and $1,590 for families whose
houses were slightly, moderately, and severely damaged,
respectively. Families report that an "average" house -- one with
brick walls and corrugated galvanized iron sheet roofing -- costs
roughly $8,480 to build. The significant shortfall between the GoI
shelter compensation plan and the reported cost of building a house
gives rise to concern that people may use cheaper building materials
and employ less expensive building techniques when rebuilding
houses.

11. The earthquake severely damaged cement factories and brick
kilns. The brick-making industry is operating at 40 percent of its
pre-earthquake capacity. With cement and bricks in short supply,
the humanitarian community is concerned that people might use
materials of lower quality in shelter reconstruction.

-- USAID/OFDA Interventions --

12. In Indonesia, shelter construction is an ongoing process even
outside of a disaster setting. Families that generate wealth often
invest money in their house. USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign
Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) is currently supporting the
provision of temporary and transitional shelter as part of the
humanitarian response to the earthquake. Equally important,
USAID/OFDA is supporting education programs that focus on improved
building techniques with a strategic emphasis on seismic resistance.
These programs are designed to provide the basis for a "build back
better" approach that is part of a broader disaster risk reduction
program within the earthquake-affected area. In addition, a shelter
and settlements expert recently joined the USAID/DART in Padang and
is working with the GoI and humanitarian community to meet emergency
shelter needs.


Hume#

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