Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Crisis in Aceh ~ Logistics and Re-settlement

A selection of reports and coverage for "Crisis in Aceh" series that focus on logistics and settlement, including a report by Urban Poor Center (UPC). Comments provided by RJ and SG. UPC's report shows the disempowering approaches used to resettle the Acehnese and military operations.


IOT - Indian Ocean Tsunami Operation
Bulletin no. 22 - February 4, 2005


A meeting between UNJLC and the Government of Indonesia (GoI) Customs Technical Director drew attention to the Director General of Customs and Excise letter S16/BC/2005, dated 07 January 2005 (posted at www.unjlc.org). Of particular interest is reference to paragraph 7, which states the Coordinating Minister for Peoples' Welfare had instructed all departments to assist in all possible ways with the relief effort. Further reference was drawn to the Director General's letter s-823/BC/2004 dated 29th December 2004 that states that all materials for the relief effort sanctioned by theauthority of either the Coordinating Minister for Peoples' Welfare OR the Minister for Social Affairs (Mr. Bachtiar Hamizan) (OR their delegates) are granted exclusive rights to authorize and permit the passage of relief goods expeditiously through the customs and excise entry ports. The Director assured the intention of the POSKO, was not for physical passage of goods but for mandatory reporting of goods granted the clear passage as determined by the GoI decrees above.

A significant decrease in humanitarian relief moved was observed and reported during the week. These were confirmed by UNJLC, UNHAS as well as by IOM, which are heavily involved in the movement of humanitarian aid using land corridors. NGOs reporting that their warehouses in Medan and Banda Aceh were overloaded were encouraged to contact UNJLC and IOM, in order to reduce warehouse related bottlenecks.
[Comment: Why would NGOs with warehouses overloaded not be able to contract with private logistics to move goods? Or were NGOs reports of overloading euphemisms for their not being permitted to move the goods? The above "encouragement" is given with no context.]

Very little response is forthcoming from any Agency with regards to cargo requests. The UNJLC air cell does not anticipate an increase in Helicopter capacity, but rather assets will most likely be removed if there are not additional requests received over the next 2-3 weeks.
[Comment: In other words, UNJLC suggests that, if assistance is required, priority be given to using (employing?) civilian workers, and only if they're unavailable TNI troops.]

UNJLC suggests that the humanitarian community consider making use of TNI troops to offload cargo along the West coast if assistance is required and civilian workers are incapable or unavailable. TNI have approved in principle this ad hoc assistance provision.

The Customs Procedures provided by the GoI and advised by UNJLC have not been operating as expected. Indonesian customs officials in Banda Aceh do not have the capacity to clear goods on arrival and are instead instructing consignees to take their cargo without following proper clearance procedures. Organisations with a permanent programming presence (e.g. WHO) want to follow these new guidelines but are finding that the Banda Aceh customs officials are following the old methods. Organisations have been advised to maintain complete files and documentation relating to customs clearance matters in anticipation of future auditing/paperwork demands. New guidelines have been issued and UNJLC Banda Aceh is assessing adherence to these new procedures.
[Comment: UNJLC preempts future oil for food scandal.]

Medan: It is currently taking up to a week to clear customs e.g. OXFAM and WFP. UNJLC met with local customs to clarify situation. It appears that thecustoms here are following the national agreements for the emergency as well as the standard agreements covering UN, IOs and participating NGOs.
[Comment: DELAY: Unnecessary delays for goods. Sri Lankan customs was standardized quickly for post-tsunami humanitarian efforts. Why has Medan taken at least 3 weeks more not to come up with standardization? Then again, corruption in Sri Lankan has occurred on a mammoth scale, ostensibly at the local (sub-district) administrative level.]

In Meulaboh, the main concern for the port is lack of warehousing. It is estimated that at least five Rubb halls are required to cope with the upcoming reconstruction phase.

The two C160s from France will help with capacity needed to Meulaboh. The possible deployment of the light fixed wing (Twin Otter Type) would give increased flexibility and reduce helo use for pax to areas where a suitable runway is available.

The Spanish are sending 3 x AB212 helicopters, a support ship and an engineering crew with 243 troops. ETA 7/02/05.

Air Serv are based in Sabang, operating 7 helicopters 2 x Hueys capable of carrying underslung loads, and 5 x smaller helos capable of carrying up to14 pax. Also a King Air 300 is available as of 3/02/05. On the West coast they are operating as far south as Meulaboh and are available to NGOs on a scheduled basis. Air Serv have reported an increase in cargo flow, particularly in terms of sustainable development goods such as building materials and WATSAN equipment.

All outstanding safety and security briefings to the air crew have been carried out.

Incident reports received from two crews indicate an overload on the helo frequency 129.3 in the Meulaboh area. This was presented to the Australians to investigate a common frequency for all to use in the area, and thus free up 129.3. Furthermore, the LZ at the TNI base at Meulaboh cannot cope with the larger helicopters and a decision has been made by the UNHAS taskers totask these air craft to the air field at Meulaboh. The presence of WFP staff on the ground has made it possible to organize transport to and from the air field.

The MEDIVAC procedure has been finalized and will be distributed by UNSECOORD.

Air movement out of Medan to BA is dropping as more goods are shifted to road.

In Meulaboh, coordination of flights is not optimal yet. In discussions with various air staffs UNJLC has been advised that this should not be a problem in the future as the primary Landing Site is LS5 in front of the TNI HQ. LS3 is at the port is used only to deliver pax/cargo to the port on specially requested flights AND as an emergency alternate LS should LS5 be occupied. If there is a diversion, the air staffs have advised that the helicopter will go to LS5 as soon as it is cleared to pick up pax and cargo. LS1 is located at CUT NYAK DIEN airport and is intended to only be used for refuelling and parking. In discussions with Capt Sholeh (081 3701234 95) the senior TNI at the airfield, he advised that UNHAS is most welcome to set up a tent/office to coordinate UNHAS flights. It is recommended that helicopters report into the WFP base station call sign IHF Base, when 100km from arrival. HF 4100 USB, 6700 USB and 9050 USB, cell call 590608 HF. VHF 163.3125 and 163.650 tone 141.3. WFP will broadcast arrival to all agencies.

Based on ongoing cooperation with Pertamina, UNJLC is surveying the fuel needs of agencies and NGOs in order to assess further demands. UNJLC reiterated at the General Coordination meeting on Thursday 2 February 2005 that agencies and NGOs must notify UNJLC of fuel requirements in tsunami affected areas, including quantity and location, and that if they do not comply then fuel may not be available to them at a later stage.
[Comment: Important for all that may wish to avail themselves of flights with free (apparently) fuel.]

Air Serv report that fuel prices have risen from 37 cents/litre to 41cents/litre in the last week.

A fuel farm will be moved to Meulaboh. This will be carried out by a French C160. The farm will be stored at Meulaboh until a constructor has been found. Wheeled fuel bowsers will also be provided.

IOM will continue to provide 40 trucks in the Banda Aceh area for cost free common use until the end of February, at which point future needs will be assessed. They have provided 20 trucks to WFP. IOM are reducing their direct logistics and distribution activities.

The road between Meulaboh and Lamno is reportedly passable for light vehicles with increased loads, but not trucks. This improvement is due to a decrease in rain, and increased consolidation of new road surfaces.

Road access along the West coast in sections between broken bridge points has improved faster than expected.

TNI report that bridging assets are in place to finalise the Banda Aceh-Lamno road. TNI have accepted the DFID Bailey bridge donation and will use this additional 200m at identified points along the whole coastal road.

Road conditions from Medan to Meulaboh are stable. A UNJLC assessment is forthcoming.

IOM reports demand for transport to all locations is increasing with Nias in particular becoming popular. Route to Nias is by road to Sibolga and then by boat. In order to alleviate demand IOM and TNT have increased their fleet size. IOM has increased from 140 10 days ago to 193.

CARE plans to use the port at Sabang as a base, including the now empty warehouses. They are currently operating 2 x 50MT boats and may have excess capacity, which they are offering on an ad hoc basis. Contact Steve 0651740 5918.

As foreign military sea assets have not yet been used on the West coast, UNJLC is seeking RFAs in order to assess TNI's reaction to use of such assets as a regular delivery mechanism for aid goods. UNJLC have sought clarification on this matter directly with the TNI in the CIMIC meeting and are now awaiting TNI's response. TNI have approved use of these assets for
delivery of road repair plant.
[Comment: DELAY: awaiting response. Clearance and final approval through TNI not Alwi Shihab.]

Singapore has applied to bring in a barge pier to Meulaboh, currently waiting approval from TNI. If approved it would arrive in 4-6 weeks and facilitate RO-RO traffic and general cargo handling. Future assessments maybe required in order to determine if there are suitable areas for container stacking and a rack stacker/forklift.
[Comment: DELAY: awaiting response. Clearance and final approval through TNI not Alwi Shihab.]

UNJLC have advised the humanitarian aid community to remain transparent on prices they pay for seagoing assets.
[Comment: What does this mean? Don't pay bribes or run up the prices? Advice is kind of week. These guidelines should be enforced by those coordinating the international humanitarian response through a promulgation of best practices violators of which are exposed.]

WFP has agreed that Malahayati (Aceh Besar) Port will be the main port for the region and will most likely be used extensively as an entrepot. Initial volumes: 350 MT of pallets, cartons and vegetable oil arriving on the LTC Labitra Reulina, to be discharged from the 05/02/05 onwards, destined for Banda Aceh. Rimba Delapan will start discharging 4800MT on the 10/02/05, destined for Aceh Besar.

Update of sea conditions on the West Coast: According to local fishermen at Lampulo River Port in Banda Aceh, there are no problems accessing strategic sites along the West coast using reasonable sized local fishing boats. When the NW winds arrive in early March access to certain areas will be restricted at particular times, but local boats will continue to be operational most days. Larger boats (30MT) are making trips from Lampulo Port to Lhong, Lho Kruet, Calang, Lamno, Teunom and Meulaboh, and boats upto 80MT in size are able to service these routes. These boats can unload directly at Calang, Lamno and Meulaboh, though there have been some problems with sandbars.

Due to changes in the seabed caused by the tsunami, the depth at Teunom (previously 6m) is now 0.5 - 1.5m. Small boats (4MT) are used to transfer cargo from the larger boats to the land. A similar process occurs in Lhong and Lho Kruet, though in these places boats smaller than 4 MT must be used. In April and May the small boats must stay at sea overnight and then transfer cargo to land the next morning, before approximately 10 am when the wind picks up.

The approximate travel time from Lampulo Port Banda Aceh to each site is as follows:
  • Lhong 3 hours
  • Lamno 6 hours
  • Lho Kruet 8 hours
  • Calang 10-12 hours
  • Teunom 14-16 hours
  • Meulaboh 16-18 hours

Distribution of Aid Commodities: http://www.unjlc.org/content/index.phtml/itemId/30728
Letters on Airport Charges: http://www.unjlc.org/content/index.phtml/itemId/30655
Roads Assessments: http://www.unjlc.org/content/index.phtml/itemId/30737

A bulletin of logistics matters in ongoing relief operations in the crisis region affected by the Indian Ocean Tsunami of December 26, 2004. Compiled from situation reports from UNJLC officers in the field and other UN and humanitarian information resources.

  • UNJLC is an inter-agency facility whose mandate is to coordinate and optimize the logistics capabilities of humanitarian organizations in large-scale emergencies.
  • UNJLC operates under the custodianship of WFP who is responsible for the administrative and financial management of the Centre.
  • UNJLC is funded from voluntary contributions channelled through WFP.
  • View the UNJLC Terms of Reference for the Indian Ocean operations at the UNJLC website.
More info: www.unjlc.org


Subject: URBAN POOR LINKAGE INFORMATION CENTER: News on Rehabilitation of Aceh 4 February 2005

Dear All,

I have been in Banda Aceh, the capital city of Aceh, which is one area worst hit by the tsunami since Feb 1, my second time after the first on 12-15 January. Our team has been in the field since the second day, and the bigger team that will work together with the people for the reconstruction process, that consists of community organisers, architects, traditional health practitioners and artists have been in the field since around 10 days ago and are staying for at least three months.

As you all know, Aceh is still in the status of military conflict area. The civil society are keen to take the opportunity provided by the disaster to stop military violence and to work things towards reconsiliation and peace for the Acehnese. The people are hoping very badly that the disaster will give them opportunity to be, once again, free from violence, repression, and fear. My observation in the field, though, shows a direction way apart.
  1. Last Tuesday evening, 2 persons from the separatist movements (GAM) were accosted by the military. One was shot, the other captured. The latter has 1 wife and 2 children, who are the victims of the tsunami, staying at a camp. On Wednesday, 7 army people came into the camp, while quite a big number of them surrounded the camp. The camp coordinator, a young man, who met them was hit on the face 5 times and twice on his chest just because he was asked if he was the village head, and he said he wasn't (indeed, he was not). After that, everybody in the camp were put under the fierce afternoon sun from 1-3 pm. The captured GAM member was taken to the group, was asked to identify any other GAM member in the group, he said there was none, and was asked to kiss his children goodbye. We did not know as of his fate since then. After, the whole camp was terrified, logistic supplies was stopped. One of our team member and myself went to meet the government and military field coordinator last evening to ask for food to send to them but was declined with the explanation that they will check first and will send the food themselves.

  2. The government is very keen in putting all the displaced people, especially those who are in tents, to move to temporary shelters built by govt agencies and private sectors. They are now building some 46 temporary shelters all over Aceh, and on February 15, they will organise a launching event. The fact I found in the field, after talking to many of the people, all want to come back to their original village: start the cleaning, build temporary shelters in their kampungs, and gradually build permanent houses. They all refuse to move out or to be relocated.

In light the govt plan, in many villages and towns in North Aceh, people are forced to move into the govt temporary shelters, are denied access to their original land and villages, and those who refused to consent to the wish of the military are accused as GAM.

In my observation, the military now use food and basic needs to control and enforce their military approach. The arrangement is as follows: food supplies and delivery to tents and camps are in the hands of BULOG (govt bureau of logistic), non-food ones such as tent and others are in the hands of the military. The distribution is done trough the hierarchical bureaucracy of government and the military. The procedure starts with the camp committee reports the need to the village/subdistrcit head, the latter report it to the area committee who will then have to get the green light from the army.

The government is very desparate to show, both to the national watchers/people and international society, that they have done a lot and are achieving. I do not see anything wrong in the intention, except that they way to do it is, in my opinion, very wrong.

Within such a context, I believe that now we are in a race as to how to work together with the people to secure their rights to choose (if to come back to their original community or otherwise), to their land, and to the decision as to how they will build their new houses, and to do their economic activities.

So far we have already 5 communities who are very keen in going back their communities. One is going to build tents in the original land this evening, starting the cleaning up tomorrow, and will start to build their small mosque after (this is because the mosque is the centre of the community and community's life). The rest will do the same soon. Meanwhile, we are reaching out to more, so the number will be big enough to show what the people really want, for them to negotiate with and to advocate their ideas and rights to the power that be.

I would like to appeal for your assistance in this case. Kindly inform the public in your countries and your government and persuade them to hold their donation unless the government/military agrees to put the people at the center in the reconstruction process, as the primary actors and decision makers, and to use the momentum created by the disaster for peace and welfare of the people.

Wardah Hafidz

Donation for Aceh can be sent to:
Urban Poor Consortium - Konsorsium Kemiskinan Kota
Billy Moon Blok H-I/7 Jakarta 13450,
Phone: 62-21-8642915, 86902407
Fax: 62-21-86902408

Bank Account
Name of Payee: Konsorsium Kemiskinan Kota
Account number: 230-3000097
Name of Bank: BCA KCU Kalimalang
Bank Address: Jl. Tarum Barat Blok E no. 5 JAKARTA


[Comment: Wardah's report confirms Human Rights Watch's recent update on Aceh. I think we should write a statement of concern focusing on the victims' right to return to their villages and reiterating the demilitarization of aid and relief delivery. What's happening now, is the transformation of Aceh into a Vietnam-style hamlets. The resumed peace talks, for it to really be on a meaningful start, should have cessation of hostilities on both sides. And it is incumbent on the Indonesian government and the TNI, as apparently the "superior force" to show its sincerity and goodwill and rein in its forces. More importantly, human rights violations and abuses against civilians must stop. Otherwise, all this hullabalo about the resumed peace negotiations, is a case of "talking while continue shooting" on the part of the Indonesian government, and therefore constitutes an act of bad faith. We can register our concern regarding the sincerity of the government to pursue this new round of negotiations that should ultimately lead to a durable and just peace for the people of Aceh. Instead, what is unfolding before us, is the use of the peace negotiation within the larger framework of counter insurgency operations---to score political points against the GAM on the negotiating table, and to crush rebellion and all forms of dissent in Aceh and to use the vulnerabilites of the people in the wake of Tsunami to reimpose and tighten military control.]


United Nations to hire 30,000 tsunami victims in Aceh in massive debris cleanup
By Christopher Bodeen, AP

Banda Aceh, Indonesia, Feb. 4 (AP) - The United Nations said Friday it will employ up to 30,000 tsunami survivors for the massive cleanup of shattered buildings, mangled cars and other debris scattered across Indonesia's Aceh province by the Asian tsunami.

A pilot program will first employ 100 people and will eventually expand to all affected regions and towns in the battered province, said United Nations Development Program spokeswoman Mieke Kooistra.

"It (the program) will inject money into the economy almost immediately," Kooistra said. "People will receive a daily wage. The process of collecting waste in a structured way... will speed up the recovery in damaged areas."

The Dec. 26 tsunami that killed at least 110,000 people in Aceh left behind sprawling fields often many meters (yards) thick in debris from destroyed fishing boats, shattered buildings, and crushed cars.

A joint Indonesia-UNDP waste recovery facility in the hard-hit capital of Banda Aceh is due to start operating in a week, Kooistra said.

Much of the waste, including huge slabs of steel and concrete, will be recycled for reconstruction efforts or used to fill eroded coastal areas,she said. Some will be used as compost to help regenerate farmland.

U.N. and Indonesian officials say they have found no serious risk posed by toxic chemical spills partly because of the wide dispersal by the tsunami's ferocity, U.N. spokesman Yasuhiro Ueki said.

However, soil and other organic waste tainted by chemicals risk polluting ground water and coastal seas, and can't simply be buried in pits, he said.

Kooistra said the cleanup workers in Aceh will be "appropriately trained, appropriately dressed, get the vaccinations and go out to sort wasteaccording to what's recyclable."


Human Rights Watch (New York)
February 7, 2005

For Immediate Release:

Indonesia: After Tsunami ~ Acehnese Fear Forced Relocation
Military Role in Relocation Efforts Should Be Minimized

(New York, February 7, 2005) The Indonesian government's plan in Aceh to register and relocate more than 100,000 people displaced by the tsunami to semi-permanent camps threatens their right to return home, Human Rights Watch and Human Rights First said today.
The Indonesian government needs to ensure that any relocation program in the province fully respects the rights of the displaced people.

The Indonesian government announced that as early as February 15 it could begin to move up to a quarter of the 400,000 people displaced by the tsunami in Aceh into semi-permanent, barracks-style shelters.

Human Rights Watch and Human Rights First expressed concern that the new camps could be misused by the military as a way of controlling the population for military purposes unless human rights safeguards are put in place. During years of the brutal armed conflict in the northwestern Sumatra province, the Indonesian military has a record of housing Acehnese displaced by the conflict in secure camps where at times their freedom of movement has been unnecessarily restricted and where serious human rights violations have taken place.

Given the military's poor human rights record in Aceh, its prominent role in the transport of thousands of Acehnese from spontaneous camps to the barracks sites, involvement in camp management, and aid distribution within barracks would invariably create fears among the displaced population. This could prevent displaced persons from making a free and informed choice on relocation, including the option of returning to their place of origin. The participation of the police paramilitary brigade (Brimob) would raise similar fears due to its history of abuses in Aceh.

"In the context of the war in Aceh, a military presence at the camps can be a form of intimidation and abusive control," said Neil Hicks, Director of International Programs at Human Rights First. "Although the military has played a sometimes welcome role in the emergency phase after the tsunami, their involvement in the relocations should be minimized and civilian agencies alone should run the camps."

On Sunday, January 30, the Indonesian government began the process of registering people displaced by the tsunami for relocation. The registration appears intended to collect data on this displaced population-also referred to as internally displaced persons (or IDPs)-that in part would be used to identify displaced persons for relocation to the shelters for up to two years.

According to the Indonesian military's "Broad Plan on Natural Disaster Relief and Control of Displaced Persons in [Aceh] Province," military forces will be involved in surveying "numbers and locations of displaced persons (DP), planning/preparations for relocation...[and] displacement of DPs to DP camps that have been developed."

At least a third of those displaced by the tsunami in Aceh now live in spontaneous camp sites, while others are staying in public buildings, such as schools and mosques, or with relatives. The Indonesian government has promised a monthly stipend to support displaced persons living with host families. But the authorities have not issued a clear commitment to support those who choose to return to their places of origin immediately.

Human Rights Watch and Human Rights First called on the Indonesian government continue to seek a range of durable solutions for Aceh's displaced population.

"In its haste to solve the problem of shelter the government is failing to inform the displaced population of their options," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "These people have already lost much to the tsunami, but they still have the right to weigh in on how and where they are going to live in the future."

According to the U.N. Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, displaced persons should be relocated only with full and informed consent. The Guiding Principles specifically cover persons forced or obliged to flee as a result of "natural or human-made disasters."

Human Rights Watch and Human Rights First raised concerns that the Indonesian government was registering IDPs without offering them adequate information or proper alternatives about where and how they will be relocated. While some IDPs currently living in crowded tents in spontaneous temporary camps may prefer the option of relocation to barracks, the government registration form omits other options. Options could include a return to one's home area, staying in the current location, or resettling to another part of the province or country.

Many displaced persons have yet to receive information about the imminent relocation plans. To ensure a free and informed choice, the Indonesian government should initiate a mass information campaign and establish a registration and decision-making process that allows families to choose from a full range of options. International involvement in monitoring the registration would help ensure transparency of the process and protection of the data.

"The Indonesian government needs to clarify who will carry out the registration of individuals, what the information will be used for, and who will have access to this data during and after the process," said Adams. "We are concerned this information could be used to target alleged separatist supporters and deny them humanitarian aid."

The relocation shelters are thatched wooden buildings up to 90 feet long, divided into two rows of 12-by-15 foot rooms. The relocation is intended to provide shelter for as long as two years while homes are rehabilitated or reconstructed. Where barracks are the chosen solution, Human Rights Watch and Human Rights First called on the Indonesian government to ensure that the construction and maintenance of the barracks met with minimum standards found in the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. These include appropriate site selection, proximity to livelihood and education opportunities.

For more information, please contact:
In New York, Neil Hicks (Human Rights First): +212 845 5248
In London, Brad Adams (Human Rights Watch): +44 7960 844 996
In Washington DC, Veena Siddharth (Human Rights Watch): +202 612 4341

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