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UNHCR to leave Aceh, with unfulfilled promises JAKARTA - UNHCR, the UN refugee agency today announced its plan to leave Aceh by Friday, March 25. The moves coincide with the government's announced plans for the transition from emergency relief to long-term reconstruction, and to weed out irrelevant foreign worker. Unfortunately, the agency will leave Aceh with some unfulfilled promises, including plan to build permanent house in Calang. Who's next?

''UNHCR understands the government's desire to review and rationalize the huge humanitarian effort in Aceh as it now prepares for the next important stage - long-term reconstruction,'' the agency said in a statement released in Jakarta. UNHCR remains ready to provide support in that stage if requested to do so by the government.''

UNHCR said that with a mandate for protecting refugees fleeing violence and persecution, UNHCR does not normally respond to natural disasters, and its program in Aceh was unprecedented. Given the enormity of the tsunami crisis, it was asked to join the United Nations emergency response effort and quickly mounted a programme to help provide shelter and other assistance to some 100,000 people along Aceh's devastated west coast.

At the request of the UN Country Team, UNHCR in January presented a six-month, $60-million operational plan for Aceh, focusing primarily on shelter needs. About $33 million of the amount raised remains available, while $7 million has already been spent. If UNHCR is not requested to take part in the reconstruction phase, it will be consulting with its donors on the use of the unspent funds. Options could include reimbursement to donors or transfer to other agreed agencies. UNHCR is currently in the process of discussing these and other options with its donors.

UNHCR deployed mobile teams to temporary field locations in Medan, Banda Aceh, Meulaboh, Calang and Lamno. Swiss helicopters and sea transport provided by the Indonesian Army were used to transport lightweight tents, plastic sheeting, jerry cans, kitchen sets, blankets and locally produced plastic sleeping mats. UNHCR also developed a strategy to support early return and the provision of permanent housing units to the affected population in some of the smaller coastal communities.

Since last weekend, the refugee agency has already closed offices at Lamno, Calang and Meulaboh on the west coast and arranged for the transfer of supplies and assets and the dismantling of telecommunications and other equipment. Remaining staff will depart Banda Aceh by the end of this week.

IDPs in Calang didn't know if the agency would leave them. They feel disappointed if UNHCR really leave them. ''Who will build our house. UNHCR promised it to us,'' said some IDPs in Bahagia Village, as quoted by Aceh Kita, last Saturday. Previously, government put UNHCR and IOM (International Organization for Migrants) on its exit list. But later IOM has excluded from the list. Both considered irrelevant to get involved in Aceh because of their mandate, as reflected in their name.

Other than UNHCR and IOM, some other organization also used 'refugees' in its name, including Catholic Refugee Services. Another agency with no explicit refugee name is CARDI, Consortium for Assistance and Recovery toward Development in Indonesia. It is a coalition of the Danish Refugee Council, the Norwegian Refugee Council, the International Rescue Committee and Stichting Vluchteling. It has works in Indonesia since economics crisis in 1998.



Posted in Earthquake @ 25 March 2005 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

indahnesia.com lists all earthquakes that occur in Indonesia. For your convenience we display them in a list and a Google Map. It is as accurate and recent as you can imagine as we check for updates every few minutes. If an earthquake occurs in Indonesia, this is the place to check it out in the first place.






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