Acehnese Villagers Oppose Oxfam Presence

Frustrated with the mismatch between rebuilding promises and actual performance of international aid groups, villagers in Pasi, Aceh, told Oxfam they no longer want the agency to operate there.

Oxfam had promised in April 2005 it would build half the 150 needed homes in Pasi. One year later, the only tangible achievement has been the laying of foundations for 11 houses. Oxfam temporarily closed its office overseeing Pasi and other villages in Aceh Besar and Banda Aceh districts in March to investigate financial irregularities.

Oxfam says it never made the specific promise and refers to the time-consuming procedures needed to secure legal documents for the land on which to build the houses. The charity has pledged to continue its rebuilding work.

Beyond Pasi, there is mounting frustration over the generally slow progress in rebuilding. In a further sign of trouble, the Indonesian government’s Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Agency has warned that the average cost of building a home had jumped from $(Australian) 4,242 to $7,526—reflecting the inflationary consequences of well-heeled aid agencies driving up prices in Aceh.

Related Links:

Tb. Arie Rukmantara, “Oxfam Affirms Committment to Aceh,” The Jakarta Post, 18 April 2006.
Link: http://www.thejakartapost.com/detailnational.asp?fileid=20060417.G03&irec=4, and
“Tsunami Victims Reject Aid,” The Advertiser (Adelaide, Australia), 15 April 2006.
Link: http://www.theadvertiser.news.com.au/printpage/0,5942,18815645,00.html