Peacebuilding in Tsunami-affected areas

It is estimated that women comprised up to 70% of Aceh's pre-tsunami population of four million people. Men fled the war or emigrated in search of work. According to a short update by Nonviolence International: "Given that more men survived the tsunami because of their physical strength and speed, a horrendous percentage of those killed probably were women and girls."

The Indonesian government is still operating out of a counter-insurgency mindset which is understandably creating additional challenges for Aceh's recovery.

Groups like the Asian Human Rights Commission (www.ahrchk.net) have expressed concerns about the strict control of the Indonesian military over aid stocks and distribution in Aceh. For more information on military obstruction of relief aid see www.indonesiaalert.org

Nonviolence International (www.nonviolenceinternational.net) had peacebuilding classes in 100 high schools in Aceh, and a peacebuilding course for Muslim religious clerics. UNICEF reports that 1100 schools were destroyed in Aceh. Nonviolence International (email: nonviolenceatigc.org) is accepting donations through their website for relief efforts in Aceh. Peace Brigades International has returned to Aceh with security and trauma counseling teams. Web: www.peacebrigades.org

Local NGO offices were destroyed in most of Aceh and many activists lost their lives. The office in Banda Aceh of the NGO Relawan Perempuan untuk Kemanusiaan (RPuK--Women Volunteers for Humanity) was also destroyed, but RPuK activists are providing support to survivors: RPuK, Jl. Air Bersih no 106, Teumpok Teungoh, Lhokseumawe, NAD, Indonesia. Tel/fax: +62 0645 40977. Donations may be made to RPuK. Bank: LippoBank. Branch: Cabang Menteng Jakarta. Account number: 717-10-70975-3. Name of account holder: Ir. Samsidar. The women's group Solidaritas Perempuan is also organizing relief for grassroots women. Funds can be wired to: Solidaritas Perempuan. Account number: 000.02.14.42.096 (USD) Perserikatan Solidaritas Perempuan. Swift Code: ABN - AIDJA. Bank Name: ABN AMRO BANK N.V. Jakarta Main Branch Jl. Ir. H. Juanda, 23-24, Jakarta 10029 Indonesia, PO.BOX 2950. Tel. +62 21 2312777. Fax: +62 21 2313222.

In Sri Lanka the Association of War Affected Women (email: venuwanat sltnet.lk; web: www.awawsl.org) has an email bulletin on tsunami affected women and set up a fund. Name of Account: Fund for Tsunami Affected Women. Bank account No: 0004120-1. Bank: Bank of Ceylon, Pilimathalawa Branch. Swift code: BECY- LKLX, 7010/587.

The Nonviolent Peaceforce teams in Sri Lanka are monitoring and reporting on the delivery of relief aid in refugee camps. See web: www.nonviolentpeaceforce.org

From India Saswati Roy from Swadhina (email: mainofficeatswadhina.org, swadhinaatvsnl.com) writes: "Some of our working villages at Kanyakumari area in South India have been severely affected. These villages are located by the sea shore. Some of our workers are now living at relief camps. There is huge loss of life and property. Most of the fishing community have lost their fishing nets and boat, meaning ruining of their economic activity. Please help us in whatever way you can. Please send your cheque named 'Swadhina' to: KURVE Wustrow 'SOKO Indien', Konto-Nr. 6021646, Kreissparkasse Luechow-Dannenberg (BLZ 25851335), Germany or to United Bank of India, A/C Number 3750, ("Swadhina"), 19 Broad Street, Calcutta 700019, India.

The Cultural Academy for Peace has also initiated relief work. Contact: Beena Sebastian, Cultural Academy for Peace, 35/761, North Janatha Road, Palarivattom, Kochi 682 025, Kerala, India. Tel: +91 484 2349562, 2339403. Email: kolutharaateth.net