BUENA PARK, CA (December 21, 2006) –  Since the December 26, 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia, Islamic Relief has been building enough homes to accommodate an average of five families a week in Aceh, Indonesia. Two years after the disaster, housing remains a serious problem for the 1.5 million people who were made homeless.

In Aceh, the worst affected area, over half a million people lost their homes. Islamic Relief has been working closely with local communities to help meet their needs. Over 550 new earthquake-resistant homes have been built and another 500 are being constructed – most of them will be fully habitable by February 2007. In addition, over 200 new homes are near-completion in the Ampara district of Sri Lanka, which was also seriously affected by the tsunami.

After Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India suffered the most damage as a result of the tsunami. Islamic Relief’s response efforts in Sri Lanka and India have included the distribution of essential items such as food and hygiene kits, and the building of transitional shelters to house the homeless.

Islamic Relief’s work has been highly effective because of the close and constant involvement of local communities. From planning the layout of new villages to the design of houses, community involvement has been essential.

Michael Eccles, Indonesia desk officer at Islamic Relief Worldwide said, “We have been careful to ensure that communities are absolutely happy with the houses that we are giving them. We have been listening to them carefully and designed homes that are culturally appropriate for their needs as well as being safe and earthquake-resistant.”

“However, we still have a lot more work to do as there are many families in need of shelter. Currently 48,000 new homes have been built in total in Aceh but the region needs three times as many.”

“Our response to the Asia tsunami was one of the largest relief efforts in Islamic Relief’s history,” said Islamic Relief spokesperson Mostafa Mahboob. “But there is still much to be done and the tremendous need cannot be forgotten. The generosity donors exhibited following the disaster is still badly needed.”

Some of Islamic Relief’s other tsunami response efforts have included:

– Construction of 14 health clinics

– Delivery of 180,000 liters of potable water daily, to approximately 19,050 people in 44 locations

– Donation of 4 ambulances to provide 1,800 people with access to emergency transportation

– Implementation of 68 cash-for-work projects, providing immediate income to nearly 8,500 people

– Construction of 6 markets, allowing trading activities to resume in villages

– Building of 3 schools and on-going construction of 14 other schools, providing education to over 4,000 children

– Ongoing construction of 13 health facilities (to be completed by April 2007) that will provide over 59,000 people access to vital healthcare services

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