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pics from dhuvaafaru

Information Zone

Maldives: A major step towards recovery

Red Cross Red Crescent constructs and hands over five buildings that will be at the heart of a new community for tsunami-displaced families.By Necephor Mghendi, IFRC information and reporting delegate, in the Maldives
The largest single Red Cross Red Crescent tsunami reconstruction project in the Maldives entered its final phase recently when the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) handed over five community buildings on Raa Dhuvaafaru to the government.In a low-key ceremony held at the ministry of planning and national development on 31 August 2008, the government took over the new structures that will serve as an auditorium, administrative building, pre-school, primary school, and secondary school.The five buildings were constructed by the IFRC at a cost of 5.3 million Swiss francs and are part of a larger 34 million Swiss franc project to build an entirely new community on Raa Dhuvaafaru, as part of the national recovery and reconstruction plan.InfrastructureThe project also includes 600 new houses and related infrastructure, including rainwater water collection facilities, a sewer collection and disposal system, sports facility, road network, electricity supply and distribution network, and a waste management centre.The newly-completed modern, airy and spacious buildings boast quality finishes and excellent purpose-built facilities. The administrative building, which is the most conspicuous building on the island, will host the island office, a police post, cells, a post office, an island court, and a commercial area with a cyber cafĂ© among others.In addition to a range of classrooms, the school buildings have offices, staff rooms, prayer rooms, libraries, laboratories, computer rooms, health rooms, staff canteens, stores, and multi-purpose rooms, which collectively create a perfect learning environment. The primary and secondary schools have a total of 31 and 30 rooms respectively while the pre–school facility has nine.SchoolsEach of the five buildings is fitted with 10,000-litre water tanks to optimize rainwater collection; the administrative building, auditorium and pre-school are fitted with two tanks each while the primary and secondary schools have five tanks each. Furthermore all five buildings have adequate sanitation facilities for males and females, including special facilities for people with disabilities.Except for the pre-school, all are two-storey buildings equipped with ramps to enable easy access by people with disabilities. The storey buildings are large and high enough to protect the population in the face of potential flooding or sea surges.The auditorium is located next to the secondary school in order to provide a first class indoor activity venue for students, but will be available for community use out of school hours. Similarly, an outdoor sports facility currently under construction will be shared between the schools and the community.CompleteIn his remarks during the handover ceremony, Per Jensnaes, the head of the IFRC’s delegation in the Maldives, noted that the community buildings are the first complete structures standing on Raa Dhuvaafaru, which was previously uninhabited.He said: “it has been a long journey - it has taken more than three years of construction work - given the logistical challenges involved, but we are now in the final lap.”Signing the documents on behalf of the government, the minister for planning and national development, Honourable Hamdun Hameed, echoed that it has indeed been a “very challenging task” building a new island. He praised the IFRC for acting swiftly to not only announce its support for the national recovery and reconstruction plan, but also to take action in providing transitional shelters for the community members displaced by the tsunami as they waited for the completion of their new homes.RecoveryThe minister described the completion of the community buildings as ”a major step towards tsunami recovery” and lauded the contractor, consultants and the former Kandholhudhoo community for making the project a success. He added he was hopeful that the people of Kandholhudhoo would move to Raa Dhuvaafaru by December 2008 as the remaining part of the project is continuing at a good pace.Honourable Hamdun Hameed thanked the Red Cross Red Crescent for its generous support, saying: “We believe that the development of Raa Dhuvaafaru will be very significant to the future economic and social progress of the Maldives in general.”The ministry of education will now work flat out to ensure school buildings are furnished, properly equipped, and teachers have been assigned in preparation for the new school year which begins in February 2009. Likewise, the ministry of atolls development will fit out the administrative building to have the community administration set-up in place so that it can become functional as soon as the future residents of Raa Dhuvaafaru move to their new island.Meanwhile, a full inspection of all 600 houses has been completed, and they will be ready for occupancy by 31 October 2008.

A new community has been built in the middle of the ocean. The previously uninhabited Raa Dhuvaafaru will soon be home to over 4,000 people. (p18250)

Source: http://www.ifrc.org/

Dhuvaafaru reconstruction commenced

The reconstruction project of Raa atoll Dhuvaafaru, an island devastated by the tsunami of 2004, has commenced according to a press release issued by US Embassy in Colombo representing Maldives and Sri lanka. According to US Embassy the project is funded by the US and Maldivian governments and will involve construction of a new breakwater, quay wall, and dredging of a harbor basin. The project is valued at about USD $5.4 million, with the U.S. Government and the Maldives Government each contributing an equal amount. U.S. Ambassador Robert Blake, Jr. joined Maldives Deputy Minister of Construction and Public Infrastructure Mohamed Ibrahim, Executive Director of the Ministry of External Resources Dr. Hussein Nyaz, and Acting Atoll Chief Mohamed Fulu for the opening ceremony on Dhuvaafaru commemorating the collaboration between the two governments in building the new harbor. Ambassador Blake told the residents of Dhuvaafaru and other gathered guests, "For you, the future residents of Dhuvaafaru, the harbor is the door to the outside world. You will begin and end your journeys from here, bring in your fish catch, anchor your boats, and greet visiting friends and dignitaries. So I know you are as eager as I am to see the harbor built and ready to use as soon as possible." He noted his pride in representing the United States in making this contribution and in working closely with the Government of the Republic of Maldives on this and other tsunami reconstruction projects. Dhuvaafaru, located in Raa Atoll, is being developed as a “safe island” that is planned to become home to 4,000 Maldivians, many of whom were displaced by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. It is one of thirteen islands to benefit from USD $12 million donated by the United States Government to Maldives for tsunami relief and reconstruction.