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The October 2018 earthquake and tsunami disaster in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, stands as one of the largest disaster responses undertaken by the AHA Centre in its history, and while the initial shock of the disaster has dissipated, work to rebuild the region’s infrastructure and communities has continued throughout 2019 and into 2020. Aside from the initial disaster response, this also forms the AHA Centre’s first foray into ongoing recovery activities, with the development of the ASEAN Village standing as the region’s input into the longer-term efforts to support the people of Palu City and its surrounds.

During April 2020, the AHA Centre in its role facilitating the ongoing support from ASEAN Member States, coordinated the official handover of the ASEAN Village to the Government of Palu City. Although it was undertaken online due to the limitations caused by the global pandemic, the handover maintained its true value for all involved, as the Mayor of Palu City Mr. Drs. Hidayat, other key government officials, an array of ASEAN dignitaries and other key programme representatives came together for the handover of outcomes from the new and innovative project.

Recounting the implementation of the project in her opening speech, the AHA Centre’s Executive Director Ms. Adelina Kamal said “In the early recovery period, we submitted a proposal to BNPB for the construction of temporary shelters, with funds received from the Philippine Government and from the people of Brunei Darussalam. With operational funds from Australia, we formed a team in the field, full time, to follow through the mandate and maintain the trust given by the Government of the Philippines and the people of Brunei, and to coordinate closely with the local government”.

Overall, the ASEAN Village project developed and delivered 75 new homes to the affected communities in the Tondo area of Palu City. Thanks to the generous support of the Government of Brunei Darussalam and Direct Relief, another 25 dwellings and additional structures, such as an auxiliary health centre and a mosque, will be developed in the coming months. The project was implemented in partnership with the Housing and Settlement Department of the Palu Government, and utilised USD 723,647 to develop the homes across a 22,600sqm area. The project implementation also received additional support from the Government of the Philippines and the Government of Australia.

Funds from the Brunei Darussalam Government were a result of crowd-sourcing directly from the people of Brunei Darussalam, which forms the first time ASEAN citizens directly providing funding to an AHA Centre project. Meanwhile, the Philippines provided support as part of its solidarity to the tsunami survivors in Palu, even the country was still recovering from its own disaster, Typhoon Mangkhut, which struck the country in September 2018.

“On behalf of the Government of Palu City, we confirm that the 75 houses are well received. We hope that these permanent houses handed over by the AHA Centre will bring happiness and improve the welfare of the tsunami-affected people of Palu City.”
– Mr Hidayat, The Mayor of Palu

“For the first time, the AHA Centre got involved in the recovery phase, not only during emergency response phase. We plan to properly document these experiences at the end of our project in Palu. We also hope that the ASEAN Village in Palu can serve as a model and can be done in other ASEAN Member States.”
– Ms. Adelina Kamal



Written by : William Shea | Photo Credit : AHA Centre