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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Aceh receives $12.88m projects in quake relief

By Ghazanfar Ali Khan

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has handed over post-tsunami and earthquake reconstruction projects worth $12.88 million to the government of Aceh, a special territory of Indonesia, where more than 226,000 people were killed following an Indian Ocean earthquake a few years back.

The projects include two Saudi-funded orphanages and education centers in Aceh region.

“The Kingdom has disbursed many forms of assistance, both during the time of the crisis and also during the post-quake rehabilitation and reconstruction period,” said Saudi Ambassador to Indonesia Abdulrahman Muhammad Amin Al-Khayyath, in a press statement, yesterday.

The orphanages and the educational centers are situated on the outskirts of Banda Aceh.

“Some 450 houses and supporting facilities worth $6.88 million were also handed over,” said Al-Khayyath.

He said that the Kingdom had completed $45 million worth of projects, including the restoration of the iconic Baiturrahman Mosque situated in the center of Banda Aceh, the first place in Southeast Asia where Islam was introduced.

The diplomat said that the ongoing Saudi-funded projects include a medical center and the development of housing units at Syiah Kuala University, and Syariah Court residence, including public facilities and mosques in Aceh.

Speaking on this occasion, an Indonesian Embassy spokesman said that the two new orphanages have been named Makkah and Madinah. The embassy has expressed its deepest gratitude for the assistance provided by Saudi Arabia, which had been instrumental in reconstruction efforts for Aceh.

“It is obvious that providing basic needs for the victims, restoring the government and building facilities and infrastructure, supports the acceleration of Aceh’s development,” said the embassy’s spokesman.

Aceh was the closest point of land to the epicenter of the massive 2005 Indian Ocean earthquake, which triggered a tsunami in that region.

Saudi Arabian Red Crescent Society (SRCS) has built four community health centers in Aceh region. The health center projects were fully funded by the Kingdom, but the SRCS was asked to implement the projects.

Source : Arab News

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