Tsunami survivors ditch aid agency
Furious tsunami survivors living in a village in Indonesia's Aceh have told an international aid agency that they no longer want their help after waiting a year for them to build promised houses.
British-based Oxfam has closed their office overseeing Pasi - and the rest of Aceh Besar and Banda Aceh districts - as they investigate what has gone wrong.
But, no matter the outcome, fed-up residents say they do not want Oxfam back.
The unprecedented rejection of promised aid by a community in devastated Aceh, where some 168,000 people were killed by the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, highlights mounting frustration among homeless tsunami survivors.
Last month, the Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Agency for Aceh and Nias (BRR) said some 127,000 houses were yet to be built.
Also, the cost of building a home has jumped from 28 to 50 million rupiah.
Village chief Muhammad Hatta says about 150 of those homes are in Pasi.
He says Oxfam workers first promised in April last year to build half of them.
The laying of foundations for 11 houses is the only evidence of progress so far.
"Residents here have agreed to demand a divorce from Oxfam," the 40-year-old, who lost his wife and three children to the tsunami, said.
Some 315 survivors from both Pasi and nearby Meunasah Lhok - which together had a combined population of just over 1,000 before the tsunami - now live in makeshift tents and huts strung together from tarpaulins and whatever else they have got hold of.
"My people have all agreed they no longer want Oxfam in our village, although they did help us a lot in the past," the chief said.
He says Oxfam were among the earliest relief groups to provide desperately-needed aid to the area, providing clean water, sanitation facilities and helping residents in cash-for-work projects from February last year.
Lilianne Fan, Oxfam's advocacy coordinator in Aceh, says that Oxfam only officially committed to building the houses in June 2005 "but on condition that the problem of land first be settled."
She says the chief eventually bought land for the new houses on October 17, 2005.
"Maybe residents are not aware that the process of getting the land takes a long time and is complex," she said.
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