Aceh post-tsunami reconstruction

  • Arup specialists seconded to humanitarian organisations for a technical review of housing programme.
  • Review of housing proposals for seismic performance and recommendations for scaling-up housing programmes.
  • Publication of the Lessons from Aceh report.

Following the Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004, Arup provided technical assistance during the immediate relief phase by seconding key staff to non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Subsequently, Arup advised humanitarian organisations on post-disaster reconstruction, advocating appropriate design and sound construction to prevent collapse following earthquakes.

In March 2006, Muslim Aid appointed Arup to carry out a technical review of its housing programme. The firm assessed the adequacy of the houses that had been built and provided guidance on how best to expand the programme to help people affected by the disaster. Field visits along 1,000km of the Aceh coastline and consultation with the government and UN agencies highlighted the lack of consideration of seismic resilience in housing programmes.

Arup made the findings from this assignment and guidance on reducing risk from natural hazards publicly available in the report 'The People of Aceh'.

Arup was also appointed by the Canadian Red Cross to review the seismic performance of eleven proposed housing systems. Many were found to be inappropriate for Aceh because of lack of seismic resilience or future adaptability.

Lessons from Aceh

Towards the end of 2007, seismic and humanitarian experts from Arup carried out an assurance mission on behalf of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC). They reviewed houses, schools and medical centres that had been built by DEC Members after the tsunami for quality, partnerships, beneficiaries and construction management.

This led to the publication of Lessons from Aceh: key considerations in post-disaster reconstruction on 26 December 2009, five years after the tsunami. The independent report was written by Arup on behalf of DEC and is aimed at both humanitarian and construction professionals involved in disaster response.

Building Back Better

In 2010 Jo da Silva and Victoria Batchelor from the international development team also contributed a chapter on Indonesia to Building Back Better: Delivering People Centred Housing Reconstruction at Scale.

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