UN special envoy for tsunami visits affected areas in India

UN special envoy for tsunami visits affected areas in India

The United Nations Special Envoy for tsunami recovery Bill Clinton today visited two sites in southern India which were struck especially hard by December’s tsunami.

Among his stops were a temporary shelter housing more than 4,000 people and a UN-supported child-care centre, staffed with UN-trained youth volunteers involved in psycho-social care.

Meanwhile, just in time for the Indonesian school year, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) hopes to have 200 temporary primary schools built in severely tsunami-affected areas of the Indonesian province of Aceh by mid-July.

The structures will cost $2.3 million, or about $11,500 each, and will be used while permanent classrooms are being constructed. The buildings have been designed to withstand earthquakes and will be built from materials made in Aceh, providing employment for the residents. UNICEF will spend an additional $90 million over the next three years to repair or rebuild 500 permanent primary schools.

The aim is to have many of the temporary schools completed by the start of the new Indonesian school year on 18 July. All will be completed in 72 days.

“Tent classrooms have been a good temporary solution," said UNICEF's Representative in Indonesia, Gianfranco Rotigliano. “But with all the children of Banda Aceh have been through, they will feel much more comfortable in these school buildings and they will have a better learning experience.”

Each building contains three classrooms which will allow the Education Department to run six classes in shifts during the day for about 40,000 children. The UN agency will also supply classroom equipment and text books to the schools which will replace the tent schools put up immediately after the tsunami.

UNICEF has contracted the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to carry out the construction. The temporary school design is a simple adaptation of the locally manufactured RISHA II transitional housing model – designed for three years of occupancy and piped for water and wired for electricity – that IOM is using to build 11,000 transitional homes in Aceh province.

Once the permanent schools are built and operating over the next two years, the temporary schools will be handed over to the community where they can be used as libraries, community centres or child centres.