HFH Indonesia Completes More Than 380 Core Houses In Earthquake-Hit West Sumatra

April 8th, 2011

To Date, Over 260 Houses Repaired And Two Schools Built

(Above) Habitat home partners in the Padang Ampalu community adding more verdant life to their surroundings. (Below) Children at an elementary school built by HFH Indonesia.

PADANG, Indonesia, 8th April 2011: Habitat for Humanity Indonesia has helped more than 380 families rebuild their houses and lives in West Sumatra following the September 2009 earthquake.

On 30 September 2009, a devastating earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale struck West Sumatra killing over 1,000 people and damaging close to 250,000 homes.

HFH Indonesia was the first non-governmental organization to receive the Indonesian government approval for the construction of core houses in West Sumatra.

Reconstruction was officially launched in V Koto Timu village, Padang Pariaman district, in late November 2009.

HFH Indonesia has since rebuilt 382 houses and repaired 263 homes. Habitat also completed building a junior high school and an elementary school.

More than US1.4 million has been raised to support the construction of earthquake-resistant core houses, each measuring 21 square meters and with a latrine.

Habitat expects to rebuild 384 houses and repair 467 homes by mid-2011. The project also includes the construction of a junior high school, three elementary schools and two water supply systems.

Major donors of Habitat’s post-earthquake response in West Sumatra included Malaysia’s CIMB Group, Singapore’s DBS Bank, Finland-headquartered Nokia, Christian Aid Ministries which is based in Ohio, United States, HFH Singapore and HFH Australia.

HFH Singapore and HFH Australia are supporting an additional 148 houses in total. HFH Singapore is also funding the repair of another 204 houses.

In West Sumatra, HFH Indonesia has piloted a cash grant repair methodology for more than 260 families, in partnership with the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and U.S.-based philanthropic organization Ware Foundation.

Christian Aid Ministries (top) provided the most number of volunteers – 182 – in Habitat’s post-earthquake response in West Sumatra. Volunteers also came from South Korea (above).

Under the concept, 263 families who repair their own houses receive cash or a voucher from HFH Indonesia to purchase materials at hardware shops designated by Habitat. The aim is to give affected families more ownership of the rehabilitation process.

The cash grant repair methodology also maximizes the use of recycled materials which poor families may collect. These include doors, window frames, panels and bricks from damaged and destroyed homes.

Families are also bartering usable materials with their neighbors so resources are available and homes can be built more readily.

The rebuilding process is boosted by international volunteers who contributed time and labor.

Christian Aid Ministries, a non-governmental organization based in Ohio, USA, sent the largest number of volunteers to work alongside Habitat staff and home partners to build 120 houses. Other Global Village teams came from Japan and South Korea.

Between January and August 2010, CAM mobilized a total of 182 volunteers to work in Padang Pariaman district which was among the worst-affected areas.

“For many of these volunteers it is their first opportunity to travel abroad and experience a new culture…The Padang Pariaman people were deeply and profoundly impressed that volunteers were willing to travel halfway around the world to give of their time and effort to help build houses for people they did not know.

“The impact on the lives of these young volunteers by having a positive experience will hopefully cause them to want to volunteer again and again, and thereby positively impact many more people in the future,” said Glenn Zimmerman, CAM’s volunteer coordinator.

Habitat home partner Sumarnis, with her family, is glad to have peace of mind in her new home.

Among those grateful for the help of Habitat’s volunteers and donors is Sumarnis. The 54-year-widow, who lives with her daughter and two grandchildren, was eager to start her new life. Soon after her Habitat house was handed over to her, she started to build an additional kitchen.

Recalling the aftermath, she said: “Once the earthquake stopped, along the road heading to our home, I saw that many houses of my neighbors and relatives had collapsed, destroyed by the earthquake. The afternoon rain on that day didn’t stop me from coming home. I could only cry and pray for my grandchildren’s lives to be spared from the disaster.”

Looking to the future, Sumarnis said: “We thank Habitat and the donor, we’re really glad and happy because we could live in an adequate and proper place. The house is very nice; it gives us security so that we can live in it peacefully.”