Sat, 01 Apr 2000

$100m needed to rebuild Maluku, official says

JAKARTA (JP): The government can only provide US$40 million of the $110 million needed to rebuild ravaged Maluku, Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare and Poverty Eradication Basri Hasanuddin said on Thursday.

"We are seeking funds from the international community," Basri said.

The funds will be used to rebuild vital infrastructure such as water supply and sanitation systems, provide food and medicine and to help restart economic activities.

The minister was attending a ceremony to hand over donations from religious organizations in Jakarta in the form of food, clothing and medicine to Navy Chief of Staff Adm. Achmad Sutjipto.

The organizations and groups include the Islamic Nahdlatul Ulama, the Hindu committee for Nyepi celebrations, the Bhiksu Kusalaphassa CASE, the Confucian Matakin and branches of Protestant and Catholic organizations, GKI and KWI. Goods totaling Rp 379.8 million were donated.

The minister said Kuwait, Britain and the Netherlands confirmed their commitment to help Maluku.

Sectarian conflicts which erupted in January last year have killed more than 2,000 people and destroyed thousands of homes and public facilities.

He added that moves toward "preliminary reconciliation" were happening in Denpasar, Bali, funded by the British government.

Fifty youth representatives chosen by various communities in Maluku are meeting to find a solution. They are being guided by experts from Britain and the Center for Security and Peace Studies of Gajah Mada University.

"These (British) experts have been involved in reconciliation in other places," Basri said. "We want to learn how they did it."

Several attempts at forging peace in Maluku have failed.

Basri said the government used conflict-resolution approaches focused on security, reconciliation and welfare.

The Navy is running a humanitarian operation, called Surya Bhaskara Jaya, to help in the distribution of aid, especially medicine, to communities hard to reach by land and air transportation in the archipelagic province. (08)