Indonesian Red Cross to Build Houses For Padang Quake Victims

The Indonesian Red Cross is planning to build more than 2,000 temporary houses in West Sumatra to accommodate people left homeless by the Sept. 30 earthquake. Hidayatul Irwan, the operational coordinator for the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) in West Sumatra, said on Sunday the houses would be built in the areas most affected by the 7.6 magnitude quake. “These temporary houses will be given to quake refugees who need them most,” he said, adding that the number of houses could still increase. The 4-by-6-meter houses are not big, Hidayatul said, but can still provide a living space and reduce the risk of catching a disease compared to living in tents. “They deserve to live in someplace clean and healthy until they get their homes back,” he said. Hidayatul said the houses would be built in Pariaman and Padang cities, and the districts of Padang Pariaman and Agam. Each house will cost around Rp 3 million ($320) to construct. He did not say where the money would come from. As early as next week, groups of 10 people could start constructing the houses, accompanied by volunteers from the PMI, he said. “Hopefully, one house will only take two to three days to build.” Antara news agency quoted Marlis Rahman, West Sumatra’s deputy governor, as saying that he welcomed the plan. He also called on people who do not get the houses not to be “jealous.” “We all want for the situation to get better, of course,” he said. “But the process will take time.” Hidayatul said the PMI was coordinating with local government so the assistance would not overlap with programs by other donor organizations. “It could spark jealousy among people if the temporary houses in one neighborhood look different from each other,” he said. Ade Edward, head of West Sumatra’s Disaster Management Agency, said people needed temporary houses as they waited for the central government to begin reconstruction in the province. “They are depending on donations from various sources [to build temporary homes],” he said. The provincial administration has requested Rp 8.6 trillion from the central government for reconstruction. The request is now being studied by the Coordinating Ministry for People’s Welfare as well as the National Development Planning Board and the Finance Ministry.

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