London, Dec.26 (ANI): Five years have passed since the devastating Tsunami wrecked havoc in South Asia killing thousands of people across several countries, but British aid agencies carrying out relief and re-building work have not being able to perform the work that was expected from them.
An independent report by development construction experts, Arup, highlighted that the members of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) faced a 'steep learning curve' during their operations in the region.
The report said that poor co-ordination and a lack of expertise sometimes led to costly mistakes and delays in rehabilitation work.
Given the destruction caused by what is described as the biggest natural calamity in the history of the contemporary world, agencies faced an unprecedented and 'monumental' task after the tsunami, which struck the region on December 26, 2004.
The independent report, which focussed on the reconstruction work in the devastated Aceh province, at the northern end of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, pointed out that the agencies could have done more.
"The tendency in Aceh was for government, donors and the media to focus on the number of houses constructed as a measure of achievement. Agencies could have done more for the locals in terms of helping the economy and job opportunities but praised the willingness to 'build back better' with DEC reconstruction products designed to withstand future natural disasters," The Daily Express quoted the report, as saying.
"DEC member agencies also engaged with beneficiaries and local partners in a way which built trust, ownership and responsibility. Their reconstruction programmes have left a legacy that is more than just bricks and mortar," the report added.
The catastrophe left 167,000 people in Aceh reportedly dead or missing, more than 500,000 displaced and about 800 kilometres of the coastline was wiped off from the map.
Out of the 382 million pounds raised by the DEC, 42 percent was spent in Aceh, where agencies constructed over 13,700 houses, 55 schools and 68 health centres.
However, Disasters Emergency Committee Chief Executive Brendan Gormley admitted that agencies faced 'an incredible challenge' in the rehabilitation work, and that they could have fared much better.
"We are very proud of the way the member agencies responded and given that 80 percent of all UK households supported the appeal we think the people of this country can be justly proud as well.
We accept that in the rush to help as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, we inevitably learnt some things the hard way,' Gormley said. (ANI)