Aceh Tsunami Rebuilding Projects

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Project Brief

The Aceh Tsunami Rebuilding Projects are a series of different projects to provide for the needs of Aceh residents after Tsunami in December 2004. The first project involved the replacement of 300 fishing boats for the fishermen from the Pulau Banyak Islands and Singkil after the tsunami so they might continue their livelihood. The second project included the provision an ice making machine and 2 logistic boats for the fisherman to consolidate their catch for transport elsewhere for sale. In the third project, our volunteers to set up mobile clinic and provided teachers' training in Nias. The last project involved reconstruction of the only secondary school in the Pulau Banyak Islands badly damaged by the tsunami. Most of these projects were co-funded by the Tidal Wave Asia Fund from the Singapore Red Cross Society.

Reports from the field:

Pulau Banyak Livelihood Project
Teacher's Training Program in Sidikalang & Nias
SMP School Reconstruction Project

Pulau Banyak Livelihood Project

Report of Pulau Banyak Livelihood Project (12th to 16th November 2005)


Aceh Re-building Project Team 3 comprising Mok Choon Hoe and Johnston Ho went to Medan and Singkil on 12 Nov 2005 where they commissioned and delivered the first batch of 24 boats to Ujung Sialit (Pulau Tuangku).

This took place at Tangkahan Jetty in Singkil (see photos).

Recipients acknowledged and signed for the goods received. Twenty five of the Ujung Sialit villagers came to receive the boats. The Camat, Mirna, William, Marini, Mok and Johnston were present at the ceremony. This new Camat, Pak Mufti was very supportive of our work.

New quotations for another 150 engines and boats were sought. Enquiries were made about an ice making facility in Singkil with the intention of building a similar facility at Pulau Balai.

The team returned on 16 Nov 2005.


Teacher's Training Program in Sidikalang & Nias

Report of Teacher’s Training Program in Sidikalang & Nias (14th to 20th November 2005)

By Pauline Kwan


It was a very good one week at Sidikalang. Though we were told that there were 50 teachers, we ended up training 60 teachers instead. Lectures were held in the morning and workshops in the afternoons.

On the last day of training, 600 children from various villages were invited to a party at the Bible school where the teachers did a “Good Samaritan” stage performance and a puppet show. We even had a small surprise birthday’ celebration’ for Elizabeth.

Overall, we all had a lot of fun and you can say that everything was good.

Our host has requested for us to go back next year to train 200 teachers in Sidikalang and another group of teachers in Aceh.

Elizabeth William enjoyed that 1 week and said she doesn’t mind going back next year to do the training. Same with me… that is if CRS has no problem with us going back there again.


SMP School Reconstruction Project

Report of SMP School Reconstruction Project (September 2008)

By Alan Tan, Project Director

Group photo at the school entrance during the SMP School hand-over ceremony

The only school that was providing secondary education to the children of the Pulau Banyak islands was damaged by the earthquake in 2005 and tsunami in 2004.

The entire school sank about 1 metre and each time the tides come in, the school compound and classrooms will be flooded leaving the students stranded and unable to continue with their class.

SMP N.1 is located on the island of Pulau Balai within the cluster of islands called Pulau Banyak about 30 nautical miles from the main land of Singkil, Aceh. The children around the islands rely on this one school for their secondary education.

We, Crisis Relief Society (Singapore), are very grateful to the Singapore Red Cross Society for graciously providing the funds so that we can help these people to reconstruct their sunken school.

We started the reconstruction work in September 2006. Initially we were able to source the materials and labour from the locals, providing them with a source of income through the work in the school.

We also had a good local partner Yayasan Pelayanan Kasih Oikumene (YPKO), who was committed to helping the people on the islands. We managed to make rapid progress and also built good rapport with the local authorities who were also very supportive of the rebuilding work.

Unfortunately from April to November 2007, the project was delayed owing to a change in Project Director and Project Manager. We also took the opportunity to do an interim audit of the project and review our work processes. We also appointed a new contractor to complete the project. Things were further complicated by a change in the local governing authorities. Thus we had to build new relationships with. This also coincided with the monsoon season which lead inadvertently to further delays.

Situation of the flooding and destroyed building of the SMP School on Pulau Banyak Islands
The beginning of the reconstruction process still with the flooded school compound
The middle of the reconstruction process with a partially built school building
The end of reconstruction process with all the completed school buildings
Students studying comfortably inside a completed classroom
Teachers and students of SMP School taking a group photo in front of the completed school compound.
Representatives of Crisis Relief Society (Singapore) and Singapore Red Cross Society taking a photo in front of the commemorative plaque.

Thankfully, we were able to complete the entire school rebuilding in July 2008. The school is now equipped with classrooms, a library, a science laboratory, a computer laboratory, a multi-purpose hall, a hard court and an open field.

The local authorities including the Ministry of Education, Camat and villagers were all very pleased with the contributions we have made in an attempt to enhance their livelihood and to allow their children to continue with their education. They expressed their gratitude to the people of Singapore who have contributed with their generous donations and love for their people.

Building a school for the islanders of Pulau Banyak was our own little way of demonstrating love and concern to the community affected by the Tsunami. We wish them well in their future endeavours.

Crisis Relief Society (Singapore) is very grateful to the Singapore Red Cross for realeasing the funds for reconstruction and for being patient with us, advising us at numerous points during the project.

Thank You Singapore Red Cross Society and thank you also, Singaporeans out there for without you, we could never have done what we did.

21st August 2006

“This is What We Have Been Dreaming For…”

Moving into a new house beside a calm flowing river and surrounded by lush greenery would be a dream come true for any of us. However, this was certainly not so for Darusman, a carpenter from Tekal Pasir in Singkil, Aceh.

Twenty months ago when the giant earthquake that triggered the Asian Tsunami struck, the lives of the 45-old and the other 100 over inhabitants in the Indonesian village literally sunk to a low.

The land where their settlement stood suddenly became submerged 1.2m below the Simpang Kanan River and rendered their homes uninhabitable. Forced to re-locate, the entire village had since built for themselves a row of makeshift wooden houses at a site one kilometre away from the original place.

Nevertheless, the people continued to endure a nightmarish existence. The land that they now occupy is not only ill-suited for subsistence farming, but is also threatened by chest-level flooding during the monsoon season. More importantly, the fishing community had no means of secure livelihood for a long period after almost all of their fishing boats were swept away during the disaster.

This dire state, however, finally came to a turning point.

On 13 August 2006, CRS delivered 30 engine-powered fishing boats to the fishermen of Tekal Pasir through our “Singkil Restoration of Livelihood Project”. This project is conducted in close partnership with the Singapore Red Cross Society and Yayasan Pelayanan Kasih Oikumene, a local Christian foundation. A simple ceremony to mark the handover of the brand new crafts to the people was witnessed by Tommy, a member of the local Singkil parliament, as well as representatives from CRS and the Yayasan.

With the new fishing boats, the families in Tekal Pasir would now be able to regain their source of income and self-reliance. And when they finally re-settle at a suitable permanent location, it will be done with renewed confidence and not apprehension.

Casting his gaze on the Simpang Kanan River where the flashy blue-and-red boats and the future laid, Darusman’s sun-tanned face beamed with pride, particularly as he was personally involved in building the boats using his carpentry skills.
“Our people can now start a living by catching fish again”, he said. “This is what we have been dreaming for a long time since the tsunami.”

CRS plans to build a total of 123 boats to benefit four villages through the Singkil Restoration of Livelihood Project. Although the project is 90% funded by the Singapore Red Cross Society through the Asian Tidal Wave Fund, CRS needs to raise the remaining sum of $11,090.