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Last Updated: Monday, 9 May, 2005, 14:14 GMT 15:14 UK
Aceh restoration 'close to zero'
Acehnese man
Tens of thousands of Acehnese remain homeless
The Indonesian official co-ordinating the recovery of tsunami-hit Aceh has said reconstruction there has hardly begun, five months after the disaster.

Kuntoro Mangkusubroto said he was shocked at how little had been done for almost 600,000 survivors who lost their homes on 26 December 2004.

Indonesia had been too slow to set up the agency he heads, and $5bn (2.7bn) in aid had not been disbursed, he said.

Mr Mangkusubroto said bureaucracy might delay the money for four more months.

'No roads or bridges'

Mr Mangkusubroto told reporters that while some rehabilitation work had been done, it was "close to zero".

There is not enough food for the kids
Kuntoro Mangkusubroto
Reconstruction co-ordinator
"Roads? There are no roads being built. Bridges? There are no bridges being built. Harbours? There are no harbours being built," he said.

He said part of the problem was that foreign governments were waiting for his agency to be up and running before handing out the billions of dollars they had pledged.

Defenders of the aid effort say they are doing their best in the face of overwhelming suffering. They say they need to move with deliberation to avoid misdirected or duplicated assistance.

The BBC's Tim Johnston in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, says Mr Mangkusubroto's comments echo the increasing frustration of many Acehnese at what they feel is the relatively slow pace of reconstruction.

More than 165,00 people died or are assumed dead in Aceh, as a result of the earthquake and tsunami. A further 600,000 were left homeless.

In total, some $10bn has been pledged for relief and reconstruction for the countries around the Indian Ocean, and the bulk of that money is expected to go to Indonesia, the hardest-hit country.

Situation 'shocking'

Mr Mangkusubroto, who took up his position just over a week ago, accused the Indonesian government of dragging its feet.

"There is no sense of urgency," he said.

Mr Mangkusubroto, who has just visited Aceh, said the situation there was "shocking".

"There is not enough food for the kids... at least there should be some food."

He said the key to the problem was co-ordination, and he promised to provide the needed direction.

And he pledged to take a tough stand towards anyone in his agency found misusing funds, saying they would be subject to double penalties under Indonesian law, including prison terms.


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