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Indonesia needs long-term partners in rebuilding lives


JAKARTA - "Indonesia's post-tsunami reconstruction effort will greatly benefit from long-term partnerships so that people can start rebuilding their homes, livelihoods, and the critical infrastructure needed to end the suffering of all those affected by the tsunami,"
Anthony Banbury, WFP Regional Director for Asia, said here today.

Banbury, who is on a three-day mission to Indonesia, noted that the humanitarian response has been bolstered by an extraordinary and unprecedented response from the private sector. In Indonesia, WFP has received the lion's share of US$3.25 million worth of services and support from the international transport and courier company, TNT. The food group, Danone, also donated one million packets of biscuits to the operation which, together with WFP's in-country stocks, enabled the agency to respond immediately after the tsunami struck.

Foreign military assets, particularly those provided by the United States, Australia, Denmark, New Zealand, and Malaysia, and the Government of Indonesia, also played integral roles in ensuring food aid and other vital supplies reached survivors within days. These assets remain the backbone of the humanitarian response while aid agencies gear up their own capacity.

"There has been an overwhelmingly generous response to this crisis and it has been an absolute privilege to witness the outpouring of assistance from ordinary people, governments, militaries and the private sector," Banbury said. "WFP will be there as a partner with the people of Aceh for this next phase."

In Indonesia, Banbury will meet with the Indonesian Foreign Minister, other government and military officials, as well as a variety of UN and foreign officials. He will travel to the west coast of Sumatra to review the aid response to date and start planning the next phase of WFP's operation. Most roads, electricity supply, clean water and household food reserves were destroyed when the province sustained the world's worst natural disaster in 40 years on December 26. An estimated 115,000 people were killed in Indonesia, many of them swept out to sea as the tsunami tore away communities living up to five kilometres inland.

"Emergency relief supplies are still critical for hundreds of thousands of people, but we must start looking for what comes next," said Banbury, who travels to Aceh province tomorrow. "While the trauma of this natural disaster will last for generations, the quickest way to bring about an air of ‘normalcy' is to make sure children return to school, hospitals are rebuilt, roads are re-opened, and people have enough to eat."

WFP has been spearheading the food response to the crisis, so far dispatching more than 4,200 tonnes of rice, fortified noodles and biscuits by road, helicopter, aircraft, and ship to the province's worst affected populations.

WFP has opened road corridors from Medan to Banda Aceh and Medan to Meulaboh. WFP has also been managing a humanitarian air hub for aid from Malaysia since January 7. The cargo has then been airlifted to either Banda Aceh, capital of hard-hit Aceh province in northern Sumatra, or Medan, capital of neighbouring Northern Sumatra province.

In addition, a WFP Ilyushin-76 will begin an air bridge tomorrow to start ferrying 500 tonnes of tinned fish from Bangkok to Banda Aceh. The aircraft will carry about 45 tonnes per trip. A boat carrying 400 tonnes of WFP rice will arrive off Meulaboh by the end of the week. WFP is also loading a 3,000-tonne ship with 2,200 tonnes of rice, 24 tonnes of biscuits, and 6.5 tonnes of noodles. The ship will act as a floating warehouse off of the western coast and landing craft will ferry supplies to shore.

"WFP has two top priorities. Get food immediately to people who need it and build up the infrastructure needed to sustain a long-term humanitarian assistance operation," Banbury said. "Within the next week, the vast majority of those affected will have received a month's supply of food."

Banbury also thanked the Government of Indonesia and the Indonesian military for their leadership and support.

"From the beginning of this crisis, the Indonesian civilian and military authorities have shown the leadership necessary to guide the international response," Banbury said. "They have been excellent partners for WFP and I look forward to working in support of them as we move forward."

WFP recently appealed for a total of US$185 million for food assistance to meet the needs of all the countries affected by the tsunami. In Indonesia, WFP requires US$110 million to support people for the next six months with food, of which the agency has confirmed contributions amounting to US$91 million.

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency. In 2003 WFP fed nearly 110 million people in 82 countries including most of the world's refugees and internally displaced people.

WFP Global School Feeding Campaign -- As the largest provider of nutritious meals to poor school children, WFP has launched a global campaign aimed at ensuring the world's 300 million undernourished children are educated.

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